It's the eve of race #40 in my 40 by 40 challenge. Naturally, I'm a year early, but the timing seemed fitting, as it was 10 years ago (in April) that I really started running in a serious way. You can read more about how I got started and the reasons why I put myself through it in an earlier blog post titled "The Wonderful & Terrible Reasons I Run."
I won't go deep into all those things again, but I can look back at all of these photos, think back on all of these races and go "Damn, you did it girl." Whether they were good or bad running days (trust me, no matter how hard you train, it happens) they were notches in the belt of my running resume. And now, tomorrow, the personal goal I set for myself comes to fruition. In the mix of that resume is about 25 regular half marathons, 1 full marathon 3+ Ragnar Relay races, 1 Hood 2 Coast, 1 15K and a few 10K's. The ending chapter (tomorrow's race) will be a 10K for the Snohomish Women's Run. I thought that was also fitting for the "grand finale."
What's not really "evident" in these photos or in the race medals & Tiffany's necklaces that bling out my glass cabinet is all of the other good and bad shit that goes along with being an endurance athlete, and a human. The between-the-lines of the running resume includes a divorce, a bout of Mono, boot casts, loss of friendships, and loss of team mates for the very thing we were running against (cancer.) There was also new jobs, old jobs, starting a business, planning a wedding. There were fierce friendships forged - if you couldn't tell from the pictures, a special running buddy acquired. There's carb loading dinners, Garmin watches and fueling experiments (gu's, gummies, salt pills and more.) There's a lot of self-doubt and a whole boatload of tears. I'm pretty sure there was even a race that I pee'd myself a bit at the end.
Some of the moments I've experienced along the way were pure bliss. I don't often get the "runner's high" but I would easily admit to being addicted to the sport. Some of the moments I've experienced along the way are pure hatred. Questioning why anyone in their right mind would do something like this - why SHOULD someone do something like this? This last year I've really struggled with a balance of weightlifting and how that impacts running...and vice versa. I've constantly tried to be faster, and better...despite never really getting there.
Many have asked if I'll continue to run, or if I'm hanging up my "shoes." The honest answer is that I don't think I can give it up completely, but I don't know if I can continue the self-competing nature of how it's been these last 10 years. Perhaps I'll make a goal of 50 5K's by 50. Perhaps I'll run for the pure joy of it and no longer have an "end game" (yeah right!?)
What I can say is that I'm damn proud of what tomorrow brings, and I'm excited to share the moment with those that are special to me. Nope, I've never won a race - nor have I EVER come remotely close. But what I have won is a body that can go to the extremes, that knows how to push its limits and that is wholly me, every step of the way.
- Your running ruminator