Some goals are big. They require preparation and grit, strength and determination. They ask you to stand taller than the doubts that creep in. They poke and prod your gut and make you question whether or not you are meant to do this. You know the ones. They make you wonder… the very thought of entering the ring makes your heart race and your skin crawl, and the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
Last week I embraced those feelings as they flooded my body and mind. Big goals, big commitments, wondering if I could….Questioning if I was going to be able to finish the mission. The questions, the wondering, the “can I do this?” And then it becomes much more about completing the race than competing in it. The importance is in finishing. The critical nature of needing to see something through will pain you if you don’t see the urgency of completing.
I started running in late October of 2014. I hated to run. In some ways I still do. Since then, I ran my second 5k and the subsequent 13 races since. Most have been 5ks, one 10k and this past Sunday I ran in the largest 10 miler in the country, the Broad Street Run, in Philadelphia. I ran it as a part of a running team, Team CMMD, that raised over $275k for the American Cancer Society. I ran it for so many people who couldn’t and so many people who fight that beast daily. I ran it to check it off my list. But most importantly I ran it for me. To prove to myself I could. To complete what I set out to accomplish.
I went into Sunday morning with nerves. Butterflies that for so many years, I have taught others how to control. I went into it with a sense of urgency, importance for what I was doing. But most importantly I went into it without doubt. The time for doubts had passed and I realized at that moment that I would complete these ten miles for all of those names I wore on ribbons on my back. For the ones who couldn’t. I had a WHY, another important aspect of what I teach others. And I was able to prove once again that when the why is big enough the how doesn’t matter.
Lining up at the start line with thousands of others, I felt a true excitement to run. It was like the sacred “game day” feeling I have always loved. Still, there is no better feeling for me than that. I took the run mile by mile. Enjoying the crowds cheering, watching the other 40k people around me do the same. The outcome was to finish…the goal was to just cross the finish line. I didn’t have huge expectations nor did I need this to be my best time or make it about competing. I wanted to enjoy the process. And so I crossed the finish line with my hands held high. I wore my medal proudly. The same one that the tenth place finisher was handed as well as the 39,010th. I didn’t just complete the race. I completed a goal of raising my bar… of rewriting my story. Of feeling complete.
For so long my story was about how I couldn’t run more than a mile. How I wasn’t a “runner.” And when I signed up to run this race with this amazing group of people I really second-guessed my ability to do so. It was just less than 6 short months ago that I went from barely being able to run/walk a mile the first few times out to doing ten. I run a lot more than I walk anymore and I love what it has done for my ability to believe in myself to do more.
Those ten miles on Sunday were so much more than tiring, grueling, hard miles. They were so much more than a run down a straight road. They were my proof that I have what it takes to create whatever I want my life story to read.
I am running my first half marathon in November, and I plan to keep training, run many more races this summer and fall and continue to find my stride when it comes to running and teaching my mind how much I can conquer.
Those ten miles on Sunday were so much more than tiring, grueling, hard miles. They were so much more than a run down a straight road. They were my proof that I have what it takes to create whatever I want my life story to read. To take each word and make it count. To love the precious moments that surrounds me every day. To never take them for granted. To finish what I started.
And most importantly, to know what it means to feel complete.
“I can’t” is a thing of the past.
Yes. I. Did.