Saturday I ran my 5th half marathon. My 3rd time running the Ocean City half marathon. It was a roller coaster of emotions from training to finish. I ran a half marathon when Jonas was seven months old, so I felt that I should do it again when Luka was seven months old. Training began in October after taking a year off (running pregnant does not mesh well with me). The first time I ran four miles again was a huge accomplishment for me. Getting back into running is really difficult. It takes little time to lose endurance and speed. The miles added on from 4-5-6-8 etc. As I explained to one of my running group members it is unplanned but interesting how the miles coincide with the baby’s age. When Jonas and Luka were four months, I was running a four mile long run. When they were five months, five, etc. Of course, the miles soon lapped the baby’s age since I was up to 13 by the time they are seven months. But in the beginning it makes it fun to match the miles and age.
Sometime around February I decided that I had to decide if I was going to commit to the race. It was loosely in the back of my mind as I met with a running group twice a week and logged miles, but something was holding me back. Perhaps it was the fact that I hadn’t run a half marathon since Nov. 21, 2009. The date is so succinct since it was the day that we moved into our house. I went home looking for my bed to nap in and it was gone. So I was forced to move boxes and such limping with every stair climb albeit grateful that we had stairs since our previous house was so small. The pain that you endure at the end of a race and after lose steam after a few years. Just like having a baby. The last few hours of labor you swear you will never put yourself through such pain again only to find yourself considering it a few years later. Then you remember why you didn’t do it again when you are in that moment of pain. A few years later selective amnesia sets in again. And on and on. Perhaps that memory was holding me back. Or the end of my last training was tainted by a near dog attack hampering my drive to go on long runs again on our rural country roads. Alas, our town instituted a running club making me feel brave enough to go on a long run again two years later.
On that long run, however, I ended up running alone as someone was injured, someone was at a different pace, and someone else decided to do another loop. I ran the 10 miles, the longest since pre-baby #2, alone. Looking back to see if a dog was abound, or a rabid raccoon (one attacked my dog in our yard around the same time as the near dog attack). I kept asking myself, what is holding me back. Inevitably the answer was fear. The only thing standing in my way was me. So I finally decided to register for the half marathon. The morning came. I awoke with joy. Happy that I committed to something long after the feeling may have left. I started out feeling great thinking I may beat my usual time of two hours. Around mile 4, running with a friend, I decided time was not as important as feeling good. It was a good run, talking with a friend the entire time. Miles 10 and 11 were rough. Knowing we were close, but my legs were tired. My knees achy off and on. Then I saw mile 12. I gave it all I had left. I felt good, I passed people. I finished. It was not my best time. But I had a good time.
Does it matter what the clock says at the finish line? Or is it more important that I did it. I committed. I didn’t use all the excuses I thought of. I am thinking of running the half in the fall that I did twice before. I’m thinking of training. Of doing. Of overcoming fear. There must be something better. Goals, hope, endurance beyond pain. Knowing nothing is impossible. As Audrey Hepburn said, “I’m possible.”