Remembering My Reasons

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Let’s be honest.  Running is something I have never been good at.  Even when I was younger.  I played on my freshman soccer team in high school, and we were supposed to start every practice with a two-mile run.  I never finished.  Not even once.

Fast forward into my twenties.  Knee surgery.  Impressive weight gain.  I can remember trying to convince myself that my body was just destined to be fat.  That 285 pounds was where my body “wanted” to be.  I shoved myself into a size 20, refusing to buy the 22 or the 24 that would have been more comfortable.  I knew I should lose 100 pounds but could never find the every to start because it would be such an arduous, time consuming task.

It’s no secret that I’ve been on my own weight-loss journey for the past two years, that I’ve struggled to shed my old self.  And this weekend, I set out to shake that last part of myself loose.

Look at this picture.  Do I look nervous?  Terrified?  Because I wasn’t.  Should have been, as I was about to embark on a 13.1 mile run through Newton.

A friend offered me some advice – breath in and enjoy the birds singing or the guy jiggin to your right and the woman kickin ass to your left…. Enjoy your moments cause it goes by faster than you think.  And she was so right.  It was over almost before I knew what happened.

I tried so hard to be aware of everything around me during the run.  Feeling the air rush into my lungs.  Focusing on my feet as they hit the ground.  Letting the beat of the music pulse through my body.  Air drumming as I ran (something I’ve never done before but felt pretty accomplished at by the end of the race).  Challenging myself to keep going.  And remembering my reasons for running, advice that was on a sign I passed twice on the course.  And, both times, it was exactly where I needed it.  It was imperative that I remember, that I focus on taking care of myself.  Because, when I do that, I can accomplish anything.

Did I run the whole thing?  Almost.  I walked through the water stops (because, really, who can run and drink water?) and up four of the hills.  But I busted through probably 12.85 miles at a run.  Not a fast run for most people, but it was a pretty good clip for me.  I averaged an 11:30 mile (5.2 mph) and finished fourteen minutes faster than my goal.  2:30:55.

As soon as I stopped running, my body was done.  But the entire time I was on the course, it just kept going.  It never hit a wall.  My body did what I never thought it could.  What a surgeon told me it never would after I had two screws put in my leg.  And now I know that, if I could run a half marathon, I can do anything.

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