I am about 12 hours out from my first half marathon. And I find myself TERRIBLY nervous. I have trained for this! I should be READY!!! So I am left to reflect on my journey to date.
I get Facebook messages and texts asking me for running advice or telling me that I have inspired someone to take up running. I am always honored to receive such a message. Funny thing is, I run and I do races, but I rarely consider myself "inspiring." For me it is simple...I set goals, I ACHIEVE them. That has always been the way I do things. When I laced up my running shoes last August with a goal of completing a 5k without walking, it was HARD! At 210 pounds I am sure people silently judged me. But I ignored the judgement and DID IT.
Then I finished my 1st 5k, then another, and another, and then my half marathon dream was born. I was 200 pounds and people were encouraging but I could still sense some doubt, but it was ok because I was the primary source of doubt. And every time I laced up my running shoes to tackle a long run, I was overwhelmed with self doubt. Every step I take I doubt myself. This stems from YEARS of being overweight and doubting myself. I have YEARS of living in a world where I hide behind my sisters, their beauty and small waists. I remember a family friend telling me his daughter saw me the week before, and I said how did she know it was me (because I had never met his daughter) and he said "she told me it was the "heavy set" sister." *THAT* is what I had become. That is how I lived for years.
So in any moments of self doubt, I revert back to that girl. The heavy set girl in me SCREAMS! So every time I pushed my distance further, I doubted myself more. But I kept reminding myself that I had plenty of time to prepare. Though veteran runners may tell you that taking your distance from a 5k in October to a half marathon in May is a tad aggressive, but let's face it, that is how I live my life. I push the limits. I strive to LIVE.
Maybe this is crazy to you, or maybe it is inspiring. But I wasn't born this crazy. On April 25, 2003, while I was a freshman in college I learned a hard lesson...
We don't live forever.
I learned this lesson as I arrived at my brother, Steve's house to see my father leaning on his truck crying. I learned this lesson when I pushed passed the paramedics to run to my brother only to collapse crying at the entrance of my dead brothers bedroom. I learned this when I had to become a big sister and big brother to my little sisters.
I learned this lesson when I nearly lost my dad the day after I buried my brother in a horrific propane explosion. And this lesson was etched in stone 9 mos later when I found myself having to bury our only remaining brother.
And in case I didn't remember this lesson, I was reminded on January 18, 2011 when I delivered my child who was dead in the arms of the doctors until they were able to resuscitate him. I almost had to live in a world without my son.
Every day I live for my brothers, for the lives they no longer can lead. Every day I live for my sisters to give them someone to look up to, I live my life to make them proud. Each and EVERY day I live my life to be the mommy my son needs! To show him how when you set your mind to something and work hard, you can truly achieve ANYTHING!
So maybe I am crazy, but Lord knows I have earned the right to be. Maybe doing a half marathon only 9 mos after first lacing my running shoes is "aggressive" but when I learned that the Frederick Half would be ran on May 6, 2012, there was NO question that *THIS* would be my first marathon. On May 6, 2012, but brother Steve would have turned 40 years old if he was still here. And I can tell you that he would have thought I was TOTALLY crazy for running at all let alone a half marathon, BUT I can also tell you that he would have supported me, and he would have been there to see me cross the finish line. I would like to say I have 2 angels running beside me on this run, BUT my brothers weren't runners and I can assure you that hasn't changed;) But I do have a pretty amazing cheering section in Heaven <3
And while all of that should inspire me and have me excited, I sit here sick to my stomach. I am terribly nervous, and I KNOW I will be nervous until the gun sounds for the start of the race tomorrow. In the meantime, I suppose it is time to rest up and prepare myself and my body for my first half marathon, AKA:
THIRTEEN POINT FREAKING ONE, BITCHES! :)