There is absolutely no way I could find the words to convey how awesomely exciting it feels to be just three days from my first Half Marathon!!!!
There is a lot of emotion tied up in this for me. A year ago I was 267 lbs. and had not even a thought of running!
When I started the Couch to 5K program in October, I had a great sense of accomplishment every time I ran a little further or a little faster than the time before. A huge well of emotion would hit me and many times I would cry. I would cry with joy for the new things I was accomplishing. I would cry from a sense of guilt (that is not the right word) because I felt I had cheated myself for far too many years. Mostly I would cry because I was seeing myself as a strong woman for the first time.
I borrowed this quote from my running friend PrincessNurse:
"Our running shoes are really erasers. Every step erases a memory of a past failure. Every mile brings us closer to a clean slate. Each foot strike rubs away a word, a look, or an event, which led us to believe that success is beyond our grasp."
~ John "The Penguin" Bingham
That best sums up the totality of my feelings. The first time in my half marathon training when I pushed myself to run 4 miles without walking a step, I celebrated! That was so huge for me! I cried the kind of tears you cry with you see your child accomplish something huge for the first time, knowing the struggle they had to get there.
I think the huger the obstacles you have to overcome, the bigger your sense of accomplishment is. This is mine! I sweated! I worked through exhaustion! I planned, prepared and executed each training! I learned a lot about the character of the woman I am through these months of training. My long runs teach me about endurance and how to tackle big projects by taking them on one step at a time, moving closer toward my goal all the time. My speed work, is a newer addition to my runs, as I didn't have the running base or stamina to be able to focus on both endurance and speed until about 6 weeks ago. Speed work reminds me of my limitations. I may not be fast, but I can work on being faster. I learn a lot about acceptance from speed work. Tempo runs teach me to keep the fun in running. Run because you like it and you like the way you feel about being a runner.
A couple months into my training, I announced to my husband that I would not be doing more than one Half Marathon a year, that the distance training was too hard on my body as the miles increased. At that time I think my long runs were 6 - 8 miles. Now that my training is complete, I referred to my run this past Saturday as "Just 8 Miles" ! Once I had gotten to running 11 and 12 miles, 8 felt like nothing. This past week, I said to my husband "Maybe I will only do 3 - 4 half marathons a year.
My plan had been, and still is, to focus primarily on 5k's and 10k's. These shorter distances will help me to have more energy and time to work on speed. But, I'm not thinking that will be enough of a challenge for me. I am a fighter. I do best when I have a struggle or something to overcome. I need the physical challenge to get something done. It increases my sense of accomplishment, improves my ability to focus and refines my understand of the woman I am. There is a quote that says something to the effect that when a woman enters a race, two women emerge, the woman she was and the woman she becomes.
Become THAT woman!