Halley's Comet - 1986

Halley's Comet - 1986

Friday, February 6, 2009

Winning The Race

This year I decided I wanted to do something healthy, something new and adventurous, and something that would take me completely outside of my element...so I signed up to train for a half marathon. From day one I got comments from some like..." you are going to carry that caboose of yours 13 miles?!" and "The human body is not meant to run long distances like that" Not only was I hearing doubt from those around me, but internally, each time I ran and looked down at my feet I would think..."Where the heck are you going?!" and my mind would shout "I'm tired! let's go home and go out for a beer with friends!" Somewhere within the cloudiness of doubt I was able to make my way through five months of training, and hundreds of miles later, I reached my first finish line at the 3m half marathon on January 25, 2009!

It was my birthday that day, and the sky was a perfect cloudiness so that I wouldn't have to sweat so much. My family was in town this weekend to cheer me on at the race, so of course, getting to the race at 6:30 AM was a hectic event. Any time you involve my family in anything, things are like ten times harder than they have to be. I got to the race in literally just enough time to get my bib, tie my shoes on tight, go to the bathroom, and wait for everything to begin.

The first two miles were pleasant, because right away I (literally) ran into my running buddy Varsha. We kept each other company through the first two miles, at which point she said, "feel free to speed up if you'd like. You don't have to slow down for me." She had been in India for the past month and her training was not up to par, so she figured she would take it a bit slower this race. A couple minutes after that, my feet had picked up and I was moving faster. I was alone for the rest of the race...my mind thought about all kinds of things, mostly positive thoughts.

here are some of them.... "Happy Birthday to me, I can't believe you've made it this far, such a healthy thing to do for yourself, you have trained so long- good job!, did you ever think in a million years you would be running in a half marathon?, how did you get here?, look at all the people cheering you on - they don't have to do that, wow, this is a really nice world we live in, oh hey look there's my ASHA team members cheering me on and wishing me happy birthday at the halfway mark...HI FIVE!...the fundraising you have done is going to help imrove the lives of so many children in India, if you can run 13.1 miles think of all the other things you can accomplish in your life"

After the halfway point, I knew the route for the rest of the way because we had run the last seven miles the previous week, so everything was familiar. I was so thankful for that, because I was able to guage where I was in comparison to the finish line. The positive thoughts just kept coming as I coasted along for the next six miles. When I got to mile 12 I tried to speed up. But my legs could not physically go any faster. So I slowed back down again. If there's one thing I have learned from my yoga practice, it's that you have to listen to your body. The mind and body have to work together...because the health of both rely on one another.

When I saw the finish line I began sprinting. It was so exciting, I felt my heart swell with joy, and as I write this chills rush through my veins. As I crossed, they called my name and the announcer even said Happy Birthday. Thanks to my brother who had told him that it was my birthday. My brother and mom were there to give me great big hugs and flowers at the end, and that made me so happy and grateful for the support I have from my family!

Running a half marathon was a great birthday gift to give myself, because there is nothing that celebrates life more than accomplishing something greater than the number of years you have been alive. Sometimes we forget that we deserve to accomplish great things, and the routines of dailiy life can often take us on an endless rollercoaster where we feel such lack of control. that's why doing something like training for a half marathon can be so good. Here is something you can control in life, and here is a way to do something fulfilling and accomplish something that no one can take away from you.

All and all I feel like I have had so much success in my life so far! I must admit that I didn't really race this half marathon, that I didn't even care too much about the time and there is no way I could ever win a race! But heck...I do know that I can look back on my life with this accomplishment, and still know what it feels like to win!


gk said...

And what an accomplishment it is too...you should be damn well proud of it..you did great at your first race at this distance!

Anonymous said...

Just waving hello as I pass by: Google searches out mentions of Okabena for me. Your great-grandfather was "Mike"? (based on his last name) He and my grandfather were friends. I commented to my 92 year old uncle that I had a blog siting of M family, and he said, "Well, Lois moved to the Chicago area."