Last year when I trained for the half marathon it was my first-ever experience with running a distance and really training my body to do a specific task. Before the half-marathon I had just exercised for health. After the half I realized that with enough hard work I could teach my body to do something that wasn’t previously possible.
And I literally mean impossible before that training. I’ve written before about how I only really started running the year before the half. How I struggled for months to get to the point of running four miles comfortably. But what I’m not sure I’ve really considered is the fact that I’m not athletic. I’m not coordinated. I was never picked first to be on anyone’s sports team – and rightly so. I literally have spent my entire life loving many aspects of sports without being able to participate in them. Because to be brutally honest – I suck.
But what I don’t have in actual skill, I make up for in determination. The half-marathon proved something brand new to me – if I worked long enough and put my determination to work I could accomplish an honestly athletic feat.
With the full realization that my pace is not athletic, I still think the fact that I pushed myself to run 13.1 miles last May was an athletic accomplishment. (Let me pause for a moment to recognize the fact that I never would have pushed myself to do that alone, I have sister-friends that have made an unbelievable impact in my life, but that’s another post.) The fact that I ran a half-marathon led me to training my body to do triathlons last summer – again, I finished slower than half the people my age – but I finished.
It’s a funny balance this realization that I’m running in a race alongside true athletes – athletes with whom I will honestly never compete – but when I finish that marathon I will have done something impressively athletic.
I have worked very hard during this training. The fact that I could walk normally the day after running 20 miles when last year I couldn’t walk or sit normally for days after running 13.1 – speaks volumes about where my determination has led me. (did I mention that I ran 20 miles Friday? with the admission that said run included walk breaks)
It comes easy for some people. Others have to train hard but have a speed I’ll never find in my awkward stride, messed up hips and flat feet. Some would turn their watch off during their walk breaks – or let’s be honest – wouldn’t take a walk break at all. But for me? Every step counts because I’m not supposed to be able to do this.
My name and “running a marathon” don’t belong in the same sentence. It remains to be seen how good it is that I’m too stubborn to realize that.