This last Saturday was one of the best days of my life. I genuinely ENJOYED running a half marathon, 13.1 miles, waking up at 2:30 am to my body (3:30 local time), and running without stopping for 2 hours and 3 minutes.
Here’s how I did it:
• I ran with only one headphone in so that I could hear what other people were saying to me.
• I smiled. A LOT!
• I ran the mile I was in.
• My most recurring thought was: “I don’t work out and eat healthy to look a certain way. I work out and eat healthy to LIVE a certain way. Energy. That’s what I’m after. And THIS IS ENERGY!!! THIS IS LIFE!!!”
• My second most recurring thought was, “How blessed I am to be able to work this hard.”
• I cheered for others. And I mean it. EVERY person I passed that was walking, I turned around while I was running, told them they were amazing, and gave them a thumbs up and a smile just in case they had their headphones in and couldn’t hear me. They could SEE me. And I could bolster them up. And I did. Every time.
One of my favorite moments was when we were running through the tunnel in Provo canyon. It was dead silent, and I took that opportunity to use my voice (that carries very well I might add) and scream, “YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!!” After that? The tunnel erupted with whoops and cheers and hollers. We are amazing. We need to remember it. We need to remind others of it. And when we do? We feel what we gave!
• I believed that every person clapping was clapping for me. Even if I didn’t know them, I assumed they were standing on those sidelines holding that poster for ME. Clapping and cheering for me. And I smiled at, and thanked, every single one that caught my eye.
• I enjoyed the journey. Truly. It sounds so cliché, but I couldn’t just focus on the finish line. I had to run the mile I was in, ENJOY the mile I was in, be grateful my body could run that mile I was in, and it made all the difference.
• I said, “Thank you for keeping us safe!” and held my hands up in the “I love you” symbol in sign language to absolutely EVERY police officer I passed. And I meant it.
• I sent videos during my race to the people who have made the biggest difference in helping me become who I am today. I sent one to my kids, to Blake, to my sister and coach Ashley, to my customers and coaches in our fit life Marco Polo. I expressed my love and gratitude for them in the middle of my race. I didn’t let the thoughts come and go. I felt them, I expressed them, sweaty, panting, and red-faced, through video. Going back to watch those videos today? And having them saved for the future? ALL the feels.
• I dedicated every single song that came on my “Run the World” playlist to someone who has blessed my life. Blake came up the most. And I would dedicate that song, that 3 minutes, to him. I dedicated several songs to my kids, to specific siblings, to my mom, my dad, specific coaches on my team, all of the coaches on my team, specific friends, etc. And even? Myself. Songs that remind me of me. I dedicated those songs to myself. And I ran for me.
• I took all the help I could get. I stopped at every aid station. I enjoyed water, and Gatorade, and bananas, and Gu. I added 1/2 scoop of my Beachbody pre-workout to the tiny Dixie Cup of water at miles 3, 6, and 9 and I said to the person handing me said items, “Thank you!! I couldn’t do this without you!” Truly. There’s no way I could run that far, that fast, without the help of water, Gatorade, light food, my pre-workout, and the smiles and encouragement from those people who were there to help!!
• I had fun.
Now, after typing all that out…
I missed beating my PR (personal record) by about 45 seconds. It was originally my goal to beat it. That record was 7 years ago before I had any kids, now I have 3 kids. Now I’m 30.
And I don’t feel bad about missing beating my PR at all.
Yes, that PR was 7 years ago, and yes PR that was before kids. But I think I could have PR’d yesterday if I had wanted to. If I had wanted to MORE than I wanted to enjoy my race. And cheer others on too.
PRing may have meant trading something that I gave. Someone that I helped. Someone that I smiled at. Someone that I gave a thumbs up to. An officer that I thanked and said “I love you” with my hands.
PRing may have meant that I didn’t have random dance breakout sessions when one of MY dedicated songs came on.
PRing may have meant that I didn’t send a video to my kids, to Blake, to Ashley, to my customers and coaches in our Marco Polo thread.
I missed my PR by 45 seconds, and I am grateful that I did.
I had fun.
I blessed others on the road with me.
I feel what I gave.
And I am so dang happy.
Whether or not you ever sign up for a half marathon, what life lessons can you take from this? How can you apply this not just to a half marathon, but to your life?
I am reflecting on this a lot.
I invite you to as well.