Today is my birthday, but the most amazing gift I could have given myself happened this past weekend. On Saturday, I ran (yep, ran not walked) the Thunder Road 5K. It was such an amazing experience that I hope this post does it justice.
This is the 9th year of Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K, but it marks the start of my running life. I have never been a big runner, but I wanted to challenge myself in a way that I never have. When I started this experiment, I had no idea that the challenge would be both mental and physical.
When I started running (end of July/early August), I could barely run half a mile. I could have easily quit and I wanted to at times, but I made a promise to myself. I promised Erin that if she kept trying, she would run, not walk, a 5K race. And I kept that promise.
The course was hilly: an up and down battle that truly reflected the last 1.5 years of my life. I felt great during the first mile, but during the second mile, the up hill battle began. First hill … crushed it. Mile two done and I was sweating, panting, but still feeling good. Then I remembered the hill around 2.5 miles that was still to come. Immediately I started psyching myself out and making excuses, “oh, you can walk it if you want,” or “you won’t be able to run that last hill, might as well just start walking.”
As soon as those thoughts entered my head, I immediately told the part of me saying those things to “shut the f@!k up”. I conquered that last hill and then rounded the corner to see the finish line. The feeling of crossing the finish line, entering Victory Lane, and realizing what I had done was intense. I walked around with a smile on my face and then I proceeded to down water, chocolate milk and eat a banana. It wasn’t until I was in my car almost three hours after the race, and after meeting friends for a celebratory brunch, that what I had accomplished hit me. I was overcome with pure emotion. I did it! I kept my promise to myself.
The birthday present I gave myself was the knowledge that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to and that you never know what you are capable of until you try. I learned that I have only skimmed the surface of what I’m capable of and there is nothing more powerful or hopeful than that in my humble opinion.
Now on to the next challenge …