This is me finishing the Eugene Women's Half Marathon this morning:
You can't see the finish line, but I crossed it about 20 seconds later. And I was running. I can't say that I was running for much of the last half of the race. I actually felt good up until mile 6. Then it went downhill fast. These are the lessons I've learned:
*Listen to your body. My knee has been bothering me all summer. Stupid knee. It didn't hurt, but it felt uncomfortable and other people could tell that I was favoring my other leg when I was running. If there's something wrong with your knee, there's going to be something wrong with your whole leg in general. I really should have taken care of my knee when it started feeling weird, not just when it was close to go-time. I tend to think things will be fine, even when they're not, but as I've said before, I avoided running for the first 29 years of my life. Then I gave it up for a while again. It really wasn't until this year that I decided to get better. I'm learning.
OK, that was really the only lesson learned. Around mile 6, I started to feel like my hips were completely displaced from my body. It's not a great feeling (and I feel so dumb saying this, as I've never given birth). But I knew I had to finish the race. At mile 7, I started walking a little. Then I realized that running felt better than walking. But when I started running again, I don't know, it just didn't feel right. No matter how many times I played Ke$ha on repeat, I couldn't talk myself into running more. It was really frustrating - and lonely. In those first 8 miles, there were people all over the place cheering us on. Then - no one. I was just watching people pass me. I'd run a little, then walk more. I finished running. I wanted to run the entire last mile, but it just wasn't in me. Every time I ran, everything felt more and more disjointed. Maybe I just need to get used to feeling more uncomfortable. Anyway, I looked at my Garmin and I knew the end was near. I ran the last quarter mile. It was pretty cool finishing, but it was tough. I wanted to quit a million times during that race. But I didn't. I kept going and I finished.
I'm not a runner. I don't even like running. But a year ago, this half marathon would have been out of the question. Now I know that if I get an idea that seems near-impossible, I can do it. It might be uncomfortable. It might hurt. It might not turn out the way I want it to. But I will have supportive people cheering me on and I will finish. Sometimes that's enough.
But I can tell you for sure that 26.2 miles isn't anywhere in my near future.