I’ve been wondering how I would write this particular blog post. How could I possibly put into words exactly how I feel? Ironically, I was composing this as I was running yesterday; it all became part of my mantra.
I didn’t run today…want to know why?
I ran a half-marathon yesterday.
Yes: 21.1 kilometers.
I didn’t exactly set out to run the half yesterday; it kinda just happened. I was already prepared to go for a long run. I ate some complex carbs around 12:15pm and again at 3:30pm. I also had a few pieces of Gu at 4:15pm. My plan was to go further than my previous long run which was 16K. I was thinking 17…maybe 18K. That sounded good. The weather was great: warm, but not hot. There was a slight breeze as well…all the makings for a good run.
I ran the first 5K with my friend Emily; once she left me alone on the track, I turned up my tunes and continued on. I was running at a good pace when I hit 10K. “Easy,” I thought, “I could maybe try for the half today.” It was more a fleeting thought than anything else. I don’t know if I really believed at the time that I’d be able to do it. It didn’t seem possible…mainly because I had never done it before! But instead of thinking of the elusive 21.1, I just thought short-term. “Gonna hit the 12K mark soon,” I thought. Well, what’s another 8.1K after that? I know, it’s a crazy thought, but sometimes achieving your goals is all about tricking your mind. It’s all about the psychology.
As you can now imagine, I reached the 12K mark, then 14K (I ran with 2K goals in mind). I had already run 16K a few weeks ago, so I knew I could do at least that. Getting past this point was exhilarating, though. “What? I’m at 17K already? If I run 4.1 kilometers more, I will have run a half-marathon! I wonder how far I can go…?” Once I hit 18K, I started to get nervous. What if I couldn’t do it? What if my legs gave out? What if I collapsed on the track? Who would be there to pick me up? To save me? I couldn’t let these negative feelings take over my groove; I had to keep going, if just to prove to myself that I could do it.
All of a sudden, I realized that I had run 20K. I could feel tears start to well up in my eyes; this made it difficult to breathe and run at the same time (you’d think I’d be out of breath just from running at this point, but I wasn’t). “OK,” I said, “control yourself. You only have 1.1K left to go. You can do this. Do it for baba (my father), do it for Ella, do it for yourself.” I was pep-talking to myself. At that point, I was willing to do whatever it took to finish the half. And then it happened.
At 2:33:16, I finished my first half marathon. I wanted to cry, but I was in too much shock to cry. Instead, I called my husband:
“Yeah? You okay?”
“Babe, I did it!”
“Wait…did what? Did you…did you just run a half?”
“Yeah babe, I did! I just ran 21.1 kilometers!”
It was the best phone call of my life! All of my emotions came pouring out during that phone call. I was laughing, I was crying…I went from one extreme to the other. Ironically, part of me felt cheated that I had to run the half alone; that there was no one at the finish line waiting for me; that there was no medal to collect. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is the way I would want it to be: alone with my thoughts, alone with my emotions, alone in my glory.
For those of you who have been following me on my journey and supporting me with your kind and motivational words, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your encouragement has been a lifeline for me. I feel truly grateful to be able to share this momentous event with all of you. xox