Four years ago a good friend of mine, Hope, asked me to run in the Murfreesboro Middle Half Marathon. I had always wanted to do one, however... I was not much of a runner. To say that I was "not much of a runner" is the understatement of the year. I played sports as a kid and into my highschool years, but track and field was certainly not one of them. I told her I would run with her for a few days and give it a shot.
The first day we went out for a run near our work. I made it less than half a mile and thought I was dead... like... not making it anymore, dead. Hope encouraged me to keep going... to run with her every day or two and see the progress we made. She even made me a running schedule to follow in order to be prepared for my half marathon that was SIX MONTHS away.
Running was not fun to me. I was uptight. I was nervous. I was scared. I thought maybe it would kill me... you know, the usual. ;) I didn't enjoy it. My goal was to finish the half marathon alive and never run again. ever.
As I built up the mileage for my long runs, my attitude toward running began to change. One Sunday afternoon I set out on the journey of a 10 mile run. I will never forget as I rounded the corner near campus to my college apartment, I looked down at my run keeper and saw that I had completed 10.5 miles. Emotions took over and I began to weep. I was so proud of myself and how far I had come. The thing was... I never BELIEVED that I could do it. I hated running and just wanted to be able to mark it off my bucket list that I had run a half marathon. Once I changed my attitude and BELIEVED in myself, everything changed. Running became a release... a meditation for me. I was watching my mind and body transform into a runner.
The funny thing is that I may not have believed in myself, but Hope believed in me from day one. As I whined and cried and quit...she pushed me on and reminded me that I could do it.
After the Murfreesboro Middle Half Marathon, I went on to complete the hilly, hot and humid Music City Marathon in Nashville. I ran my little heart out and did not stop the whole 13.2 miles for 2 hours and 10 minutes. Again, as I crossed the finish line of the race, I was reminded of the long journey I had taken.... from those spring afternoons years ago when I couldn't complete a half mile... to this 13.2 miles journey of meditation and relaxation. I wept across that finish line as well.
I know I'll never win a marathon and I don't care. The race has already been won inside of me. The amount of confidence and pride that I gained is the real victory. The truth behind it all is the sheer fact that you HAVE TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. We are all SO much better than we ever thought we could be.
Today I gave up my first legit pair of Brooks running shoes. After four years and hundreds of miles run in those puppies, the tread was completely gone. I went back to Fleet Feet and got a new, fresh, pair. Good, legit running shoes are not cheap, but they are worth it, people. Do it for your health.
It's pathetic, I know, but these shoes have taken me to alot of places. They have taught me confidence and self respect. I hate to get rid of them, but I am so excited to see where this new pair takes me.
If you are where I was... trying to accomplish a goal that seems impossible. Trudge on, folks. There is so much more goodness inside of you than you ever thought. You can do it. But only if you really belive that you can.
Goodbye, Lover Brooks. You have been good to me.