Today I ran a half marathon. It is a little less than two years since my first 5K. In the summer of 2014 I signed up for Race for Life…. And something began.
The following year, my first 10K followed later by a 10 miler.
For me, this is nothing short of a miracle. I have spent most of my life avoiding exercise. At school I was useless. Always the last one to be picked when it came to the weekly horror that was Physical Education. That put me off anything relating to fitness for years.
But today I ran a half marathon. Proof, if it were needed, that I have changed for the better.
- The start. The buzz of standing there, waiting to set off. Crossing that start line along accompanied by the sheer noise of a big event.
- The sounds. That first mile or so when everyone is still bunched together all you can hear is the slapping of feet and there is something fantastic in it.
- The people that turn out to cheer you on. The kids who hold their hands for a high five. The people that take the time to look for the name on your shirt and shout for you personally.
- The street at just past the 7 mile mark, where the residents had set up their own refreshment station. Orange segments, Jelly Babies and a hosepipe.
- Crossing the finish line.
- Raising money for a charity that is doing great work.
- Post-race Prosecco. Had to be done.
The slightly less good bits….
- The heat. It was a very warm one. I rocked the tomato look all the way around.
- The pain in my thighs that started at about mile nine and slowed me down, knocking on the head my target time.
- Being over taken by a man, considerably older than me, who was skipping the whole route.
Here’s the thing. Until this morning, I couldn’t run this far. I’d never run further than 10 miles. Every step past that particular marker was unchartered territory. But there is power in challenging yourself with the unknown. With something slightly scary.
I often ask people ‘what is the worst thing that could happen’. Today, the worst thing that could have happened was that I didn’t make it all the way around the course and had to hitch a lift back with a marshal. It would have been a little embarrassing perhaps, but not the end of the world.
As they often say in running, did not finish is better than did not start. But, as if usually the case with those things that scare us, that didn’t happen. It wasn’t even close.
Do something that you can’t.
There is no better feeling.