So, in all my hustle and bustle with getting ready for this half marathon that I just ran [If you’re new to my blog, here is the link to that one: https://missyspublicjunk.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/i-did-it/], I kinda sorta forgot about something. I’m signed up for another race in July.
Holy crap. Do you SEE this thing? If you’re local, you probably know all about it. If you’re not – well look at that picture. A 1,541 elevation climb in 5 miles up Grandfather Mountain in Linville, North Carolina. They limit the run to 800 runners and slots usually fill up within the first two or three days after sign-ups open.
Oh. Dear. God. What the heck was I thinking???
Oh yeah, now I remember.
I signed up for this race, and the half marathon, during the time that Richard and I were split up. I was so incredibly determined to prove to myself that I was tough. On the outside and on the inside. I was going to devote my life (and overactive mind) to training for these races and show the world – and me – what I was made of.
Well, that was four months ago. Richard and I found our way back to each other (yay!) and life is pretty awesome. So, I have nothing to prove now, right? No need to climb a dumb ol’ mountain. It’s allll good.
Except. Well. I think I still need to do it.
Turns out, proving to myself that I’m strong didn’t really have anything to do with that breakup. Actually, I think I have been needing to do this for a very long time. Sometimes something comes along in your life … whether it be a breakup, a financial crisis, a family problem, whatever … and you suddenly start to see things like you haven’t seen them before. Your slumbering senses are awakened. You realize something needs to change. And once you make that realization, going backwards is not an option. It’s just not.
I’ve never seen myself as strong before. I’ve had other people tell me I was. I can look back on things that I’ve made it through (cancer, divorce, etc.) and realize that I must have been at least somewhat strong to get through it all. But I didn’t feel strong. Hearing others say it just didn’t do anything. I needed to hear me say it. And I just couldn’t.
And then I discovered running.
I discovered something that gives me strength. Something that I can do to continually prove to myself that I can do so much more than I realized I was capable of. With each additional mile and each additional intensity level, I amaze myself with what my body can do. I just had to train my mind to tell my body it was possible.
And now it’s time to do that again.
I’m sure I won’t be the fastest person up that mountain. Just like I wasn’t the fastest person to finish that half marathon. But I’ll tell you what – I sure did run that half marathon faster than I’ve ever run one before. And I sure will run those 5 steep miles in Linville faster than I ever have run them before too. That’s a guarantee.
I can do this. I will do this. I will climb this mountain in July just like I’ve climbed all of the metaphorical mountains that came before it. Only this time, I’ll be aware of my strength. And I will be proud.
Then? Then, I will file this memory away with all of the others, so that I can recall it the next time I see a mountain in my life that I feel like I won’t be able to climb. This will remind me that I can. And I will.
Hmmm. Maybe that’s what this running thing is about after all.
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
– Edmund Hillary