In a couple of weeks, the first anniversary of my first ever road race is taking place. I’ve been wondering to myself whether I should run the same race again this year or not. Last year at this time, I weighed about 60 pounds more than I do now.
I remember that morning very well. The race was a 5k. I drank a Gatorade gel before the race. I wore a 10-pound Camelbak during the race. I also wore the cotton race T-shirt I got at packet pick-up the day before, along with a pair of cotton shorts. (COTTON?! I mean, come on!) Boy, I didn’t really know much back then, did I?! I don’t do any of these things for half marathons now! Ha ha.
My dad and two beautiful daughters went to the race to support me, and my husband ran the race, too (although not alongside me). I was really scared, because I had only started running for a couple of months, and I didn’t really know at the time why I even signed up for the race at all. I really had no idea of the path that I was paving for myself. But I was just going with the flow, knowing somewhere inside of me, I wanted to make a positive change in my life, as well as my family’s.
My goal that day was to not walk a single step. That morning, the temperature was below freezing and it was very windy. In fact, by the end of the race, it had started to snow! This weather was not expected at all. In fact, it was supposed to be a nice, sunny day. Figures, right? As we stepped up to the starting line, I told myself to run the entire thing, no matter how windy it got or how cold I felt or how much I told myself I could stop and take just a few steps; I mean, who would really know except me, right? But you see, that was just it. I wanted to know I could do it. Deep down inside, I wanted to know that I was capable of doing something more than I thought was possible.
And I did. My finishing time was 43:20, an average pace of 13:53 per mile. While that is by no means Olympic-athlete-status, I didn’t walk a single step! It was so liberating for me. That even though I had this weight on me, I wasn’t going to let it stop me from accomplishing things I set my mind to. That I could be anyone I want to be. The choice is mine. I think that day, I realized I could actually lose the weight if I REALLY wanted to. I could do it!
So as this race comes again, I am thinking about running the half marathon distance instead of the 5k and putting the old me “to rest,” so-to-speak. I think this race is very personal for me. It is a place for me to let go of the past. To not see myself as that person anymore. To start over.
Sometimes it is still hard to look in the mirror, because my mind hasn’t quite caught up with my new body yet. “Who is this person?” I often ask myself. Sometimes I still feel the same way I felt back then, too. I doubt myself and struggle with food and workout choices. Granted I don’t struggle nearly as much as when I began this process, but it’s not like I get up every single morning and say, “OK, LET’S DO THIS! I’M READY!” No, some days I’m tired and I say, “Tomorrow.” But I know myself well enough now to know that I’ll wake up tomorrow and say tomorrow again; so instead, I tell myself to shut up and just do it. And afterwards, I thank myself for it; I never end up regretting it. Old habits really do die hard. I want them to die in this race. This year, all those parts of me are going to be laid to rest, and I will make an OFFICIAL fresh start!
The only thing is that my husband has a class that day, and I know that if I ask my father to go, he won’t want to, so I don’t even want to ask. He’ll say it’s too early and cold and he’d rather sleep in. (I’m now a crazy runner girl that runs too many races, so it’s not like it’s really an amazing thing anymore; I think most of my family thinks I’m weird now lol.) My daughters also won’t want to go, and I can’t really drop them on the sideline unsupervised (scary!). So this will be a personal thing for me and me alone. And you know what? I think that’s ok now. A year ago, it wouldn’t have been ok. I would have had to have someone there to push me or hold me accountable. Someone who believed in me because I wasn’t sure if I believed in myself yet. But now, I’m strong enough to hold my own. I believe in myself. And I’d like to prove that to myself that day. And just maybe every year, I will run that race to remind myself that I’ve come a long way, and to not let it slip away. Because I’ve worked way too hard to let go now!
How about you? Have you ever had an official “ceremony” where you buried the old you and started over? How did you reach that point? How did you do start anew? Did you feel better after letting go of your past? I’d love to hear your stories!