The worst had already happened to me. I know what it feels like to have come in dead last. After that, I told myself that that would never … NEVER … happen to me again. I seriously believed that I did not ever want to run again. I was done. My pride took a big hit, and I couldn’t see myself swallowing it so soon. So I had myself a little pity party, and I took a short break. I needed to reevaluate and regroup. I needed to see if my goals were realistic, and I wanted to know if I still had it in me to run because honestly, I didn’t think that it was in me.
The week that I took off proved to be very effective in helping me to figure me out. I was finally able to let it go and swallow my pride, and take that first step and move on. Trust me, it was only a week, but it was difficult. I felt ridiculous wallowing in self-pity over something that wasn’t even bad. I finished, damnit!!! I know that. I get that. But it was still hard.
I am my own worst critic. I expect so much out of myself, and I expect to perform well. I am definitely my own worst enemy. I am harder on myself than I am on anyone else. So, yeah, it was hard for me to come in last place. And it was hard to just let it go.
So I knew that I had to step up my game. I knew that I had to work hard. I knew that I had to keep my body healthy. And I was ready. I had to change my mindset and completely forget what happened and just move on already.
I worked hard. I got my plans weekly and I worked dilligently. I got my mileage in. Speed work, long runs, core, legs. I did it all. I know that it was helping.
August … Modesto Midnight Half Marathon … PR @ 2:12. Yes!!! I had such a good run that night. I had run 3 before, then 3 afterwards. I felt good, and I was happy.
I don’t slack. I continue to work hard. I work at getting my head screwed on straight. I work on positive thinking. I work on remembering that I am not racing against others, but rather I am racing against my own self.
September … Wolf Pack Events Fall Showdown Half Marathon. I don’t sleep well the night before. I think, “Well, I’ll just run. No big deal.” I normally would have run with Mac, but she was injured, so I run with Ron (@punkrockrunner) in the beginning. I feel tired, but I don’t let on. I just continue to think that I’ll keep on going. I lose Ron somewhere around mile 5.5, and I end up missing a turn on the trail. Once I realize that I’m off track, I realize that the trail took me up about a half mile further off the trail. Gah! I catch up to Ron at the turn around and we run together. I’m tired, but I’m still going. I’m kind of upset that I’m way off, but what could I do? Nothing except just move forward, and that’s what I did. I know that I’m still on track. I know that I’m doing well. I know Ron’s not behind me anymore, but I don’t look because I never look back. I just run. Mile 10, then 11, then 12 … I keep telling myself that I’m okay, that I’m gonna be okay. Then just like that … I could see the finish. That finish line was *this* close … And I hit the finish mat … 2:15 for almost 14 miles!!! Another PR.
I have no clue. I’m just so happy that I finished so strong. I knew nothing about my ranking, or where I finished. I just knew that I felt good and that I finished strong. Then my husband says, “I think you won your age group!” WHAT??? The updated stats aren’t up yet. So I wait patiently … And as I wait, I cheer all of the other incoming runners in. I’m just happy.
Then the new stat sheets are posted, and the announcer calls everyone’s attention … and he’s just called out my name. Winner of my age group!!! I go up and collect my awards – a first place medal, and a plaque. Oh. My. God!!! I did it. Redemption!!! Redemption! YES!!!
But I remember what it feels like to be last … so I contain my happiness, and I continue to congratulate everyone, every runner. I am truly happy for everyone … every runner. I would never discount anyone.
The truth is … I am just your average runner. What I have learned is that that we all run our own race, and that we don’t compete against each other, rather we compete against ourselves. I know that there will always someone out there that will be faster, work harder, do better. But I have learned to run MY race and to be happy and relish in my own little victories, and at the same time be happy for others also! I can do that.