A few years ago I decided to really throw myself into this running life. I bought all the things. I did all the research. I read all the blogs. It seemed as if overnight I became a real runner.
Fast forward to this year. I have been wondering on the inside if this running thing was really meant for me? I began asking myself, am I really a real runner? Do I have the chops to continue to be as ALL IN as I am? My pace hasn’t improved by much, so does this mean that I should focus on things that I adore like strength training and dance fitness?
Then I cross another finish line and fall in love all over again. It’s a crazy confusing cycle.
This past Saturday I had a daunting task in front of me. I had to run my second 20 miler of the training season. Unlike the last one where I ran a half marathon squeezed in, I’d be solo, around my local park. This was terrifying because I like running with random people because when my motivation tank is low I know I still have to cross a finish line to get my bling.
I also woke up with a terrible headache and as I got myself together I heard the pitter patter of feet coming to greet me before I left which, of course, delayed me an hour leaving. #momrunnerproblems
When I arrived on the track that I knew I’d be looping countless times, I started at a lame pace. I told myself I was conserving energy but really I didn’t want to do this. I saw a gentleman ahead of me and decided to use him as motivation. He was moving at a pace slightly faster than mine and I challenged myself to match his pace for one loop. Somehow we ended up next to each other step for step.
At this point I was kinda worried that he thought I was some kind of stalker because who does that?! I prayed he didn’t get annoyed with me because I didn’t feel bad and his pace was super manageable with no walk breaks. After our 6th (!!!) loop around together he offered me a unopened propel water and told me to drink. I breathed a sigh of relief and kept going.
Without stopping once, we chatted. His first marathon was in 4 weeks in Long Island. We talked about NYC. How hard it was. He told me to conserve and run this pace, and not to get too excited in Brooklyn. Yes, I know. Headphones back in.
Before you knew it he had paced me through a cool 7 miles without stopping. Here’s the thing, I’ve never run that long ever–EVER. I barely go through a mile without a walking break. Even though I had so many miles left I could have stopped right there and cried because I didn’t even think it was possible for me to do that so it was a unicorn captured. (He later told me we were running 11:00 minute miles –I’ve never run those kinds of miles…ever…not even close)
I finished my 20 miles upright but really with confidence. Confidence that I can do this, and maybe the end of this marathon won’t be so horrible. Maybe my body has hidden potential after all. I don’t know.
Thank you stranger for your kindness and for your gentle encouragement. I hope I can show that same kindness to someone one day.