I woke up this morning with numbers on my brain. Numbers of dinners we’ll all be home for so I can make a grocery list. Number of lunches I need to pack. Number of years I’ll commemorate on my birthday tomorrow. Number of miles I need to run this week. (Last long training week before my Tinkerbell Half Marathon!) But there’s one number in particular that has been popping up a lot in my thoughts lately. For the past few weeks I’ve been doing double digit long runs and logging in some solid 20 mile weeks. It’s been the intense part of training and during these long training runs of mine, one number has hung there in front of me: 24.3.
For weeks this number angered me. Then it saddened me. And now, seven months later, this number is not leering at me or looming in front of me. It has certainly taken some time, but I’ve come to terms with 24.3.
Because I am a marathoner.
At some point in that marathon, on that day, the number 26.2 ceased to carry quite the same weight. I was two miles from that finish line. In my condition, in that humidity, it was probably going to take me another 30 minutes to finish those last two miles, but I already had my mind set on them. I knew that part of the course. Mentally, I was picturing how I was going make it through. I was in the home stretch in every sense of the word. And while those last two miles were taken from me, I’ve finally realized that those last two miles weren’t the ones that made me a marathoner anyway.
- I earned that title with 13 weeks of runs totaling over 320 miles.
- I earned that title when I lined up at a start line under a yellow flag because conditions at sunrise were already not ideal.
- I earned that title when I ran/walked/physically exerted myself for over five continuous hours.
- I earned that tile when my determination carried me past the 20 mile mark and far beyond.
They may have stopped me short but they opened the finish line because they knew – I was a marathoner. Everyone who runs a marathon has a unique story. My story includes the number 24.3 and that doesn’t make it any less of an accomplishment.