The difference a year makes


I ran a half marathon yesterday. It wasn’t fast. But it got done with no walking and only one “dark night of the soul.” 

I don’t know if I love running now. But I’ve made my peace with it. I think we’re in it for the long haul. With the exception of achy knees after a long run, my body seems to like running. I can’t think of a cheaper/healthier form of therapy and exercise so pounding the pavement it is. (I also supplement by doing yoga a few days a week after school with my teammates).

There may be no happier place than a race. Encouragement was omnipresent. There were downtownies who woke up early and stood in the streets with signs and smiles. There the volunteers with endless glasses of water and gatorade. There was a high school cheerleading team. And kids giving out high fives. And there were the other participants. Of course the phrase from Hebrews about the “great cloud of witnesses” came to mind. I get a little teary just thinking about it. It’s just that we don’t really have many opportunities to be encouraged by so many strangers. And we don’t have many opportunities to encourage strangers. I didn’t go to church because the race was early Sunday morning, but this race was as holy an experience as I’ve had in a long time. 

When I crossed the finish line, I was beaming. And then I almost started to cry. Yes, I almost cried as if I were an Olympian edging out the competition to win the gold for Queen and country (yes, I’m British in this simile). It’s just that I’d worked so hard for so many months, and it had all come to fruition. I was tired because I had worked hard. And people gave me a medal just for finishing. I wore it around my neck, grinning like an idiot. Loaded down with water, gatorade, chocolate milk, and smoothies, I found my friends after the race (finished a little ahead of me) and we sat in a sweet daze. 

I think I’ll do this again. Probably not tomorrow. Maybe this spring. At the very least, I’d love to volunteer at a race or hold a goofy sign. I never though I’d love being engulfed with 15,000 other runners, but I did. 

I never would have done this race without the encouragement of my friend Becca who signed up and then encouraged me to sign up. I really love this photo. As clichéd as it is, I felt so strong and beautiful when this was taken, and when I look at it now I can’t even begin my usual mental critique of my appearance. I was beautiful yesterday.



6 thoughts on “The difference a year makes

  1. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! I can identify with that feeling, and it makes me happy to know others feel it too! …FYI: Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, last Saturday in April. The route goes under the stands and through the infield at Churchill Downs. Yes, there will be some horses there. Yes, they might run a bit and it will make you misty instantly!
    You ROCK! Proud of your accomplishment 🙂

  2. Megan…is it hilly? I do want to try for a marathon, but I want to get faster so it doesn’t take forever. I’m thinking another half this spring and marathon in the fall.

  3. NO! You go through a few little down & ups, but for the most part it’s flat. It was my first (only, so far) and it was great. Let me know if you want to do it, and I’ll do it too 🙂 … I did get the date wrong. It used to be the week before the derby, but in 2014 it will be on April 19. (The medal has a pegasus on it.)

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