In every fairytale there is a moral of the story. Tucked between “once upon a time” and “happily ever after” is a life lesson waiting to be learned. This weekend was no exception. Tucked between the Wicked 10k and the Monster Mile was a moral to race day that led to happily ever after. Perhaps life really is a fairytale.
The anticipation leading into race weekend was intense at times, but I had a race plan. I was feeling confident. My family was ready. All four of us would be competing again. Christian and I ran the Wicked 10k. The boys ran the Monster Mile.
Once upon a time, it was the night before race day…
As bedtime neared on Friday night, I took a mental stumble. A few clicks on Facebook, and I found myself facing details from my past that shook me once again. It happened fast, and I felt my body fill with panic. I knew it was time to go to bed before my emotions got the best of me. My sleep was broken at best. Dreams kept me awake. Anticipation of racing left me tossing and turning.
It’s felt like forever since I’ve toed the light hoping to fight.
Morning preparations and the drive to the race also left me tripping over myself mentally. My race felt doomed.
A few deep inhales and intentional exhales cleared my mind. I was ready. Christian and I went our separate ways. It was time to race. It was time to run forward.
I lined up in Corral 1 surround by friends. Our pack of wolves was ready to run. I was lucky enough to have two Steves promise to get me to the finish line fighting. They stuck by my side the entire race, and they made sure I fought. Before the race started, Steve #1 stole my garmin. I was running blind. All I had to do was follow Steve #1 and Steve #2.
Mile 1 felt fast. My legs felt heavy.
Mile 2 I found my sweet spot: working hard but feeling confident.
Mile 3 I focused on being entertained by the costumes in the crowd. (Steve #1 may have yelled QUIT THINKING just as I was getting lost in my own brain.)
Mile 4 lasted forever.
Mile 5 hurt incredibly bad.
Mile 6 took every ounce I had to keep going.
The final .2 I opened up and finally trusted Steve #2 that I had more to give. I should have listened sooner. I had maybe another ounce to give.
I crossed the finish line exhausted, aching, and so so proud. I’ve never run a race that hurt from step one to the finish line the way this race hurt (in a really really good way). I’ve never sat on my edge for an entire race. I’ve never trusted my body so much. I’ve never allowed myself to rely on people to show me my strength. I’ve never fought for my potential as much as Saturday.
Moral of the story: If you want to be strong, surround yourself with strong people. Life is a mental game, and if you surround yourself with people who believe in your strength as much as you, everything is possible if you’re willing to fight for it.
Shortly after I crossed the finish line, my husband crossed the line far faster than I had expected. He soared through his first ever 10k (the longest distance he’s ever run) in a time I only dreamed of running just a few years ago. We I first met Christian, he told me he couldn’t run because it hurt his knees. A few years later, he started running. He told me he wasn’t a runner because he only ran for beer. This weekend he not only ran, he raced and crossed the finish line 56:39 (9:07 pace). Sounds like he’s a runner to me!
After our 10k, we were joined by our boys who individually ran their own amazing race in the Monster Mile. Cole was the second runner to cross the finish line, and Chet ran nearly the entire mile. Both boys soared.
The rest of the day was a celebration of this new running family that seems to be thriving more and more each day as we tackle races together. Our happily ever after may have a pair of running shoes attached to it.
Three more weeks until we get to do it again at the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon Race Weekend.
(And for you folks that like numbers, my Splits: 8:29, 8:42, 8:36, 8:41, 8:36, 8:37, 8:04 final push. Official finish time: 53:45, 8:39 pace)