Road races are popping up everywhere, which makes me pretty happy. The me from eight years ago would have hated that the me of now just made that statement. At the risk of sounding super corny, running has changed my life. OK, I would have hated that I made both of those statements.
Now, I am by no means an elite runner, and if you’re reading this and you run, you could probably blow my doors in. Medics and emergency personnel always keep a really close eye on me when I go by because of the concerning shade of bright red that my face turns.
But I love running. Even when I hate it. Because not every run is good. Some feel terrible: I can’t get my breathing quite right or my body feels slow and seriously out of shape. But that just means the next one is going to be great. (At least that’s what I tell myself.) Still, I love that whatever noise that was in my head when I started is usually gone by the time I turn back up the road to my house or cross a finish line. And years ago I used other outlets – not nearly as healthy – to try to find exactly what I was looking for when I lace up my shoes and hit the pavement. Maybe you have a similar means of release.
I just ran a race this past weekend and while I was running, I was particularly moved. Maybe it was the exhaustion (likely) or my particularly emotionally dramatic nature (highly likely). I can’t say that it’s the first time that it’s happened, but it really stayed with me the past day or so. I always like looking around at who’s in front of me, beside me, of who just passed me, or who I just passed that will probably pass me again. Every person out there is sharing something similar, but so different. But we’re all sharing this: we’re trying to attain a personal record. It could be your first race ever, your first race after having a baby, your first race after your last chemo treatment, your first race after losing a limb, your first race after losing your husband. You could be trying to shave a minute off of your overall time. Or three minutes. You could be just trying to finish the freaking thing. And as I looked around, I soaked it all in. And I repeated the mantra on the back of the guy’s shirt in front of me: You can, you will.
And as I rounded that corner before the finish line and saw my husband and daughter waiting off to the side – her tiny arm outstretched and giving out high-fives to all of the people coming in in front of me – I remembered that every single day we have the ability to set personal records. I’m a good mom. And I struggle with saying I’m good at anything. But I am. We all are. Some days our feet hurt, or the 22 year old with the tan legs up to HERE and the long blond ponytail just buried us, or some days we just have NOTHING LEFT and we’re still facing a hill on the last mile, but we do it. And we give it all we’ve got. In through the nose, out through the mouth. One foot in front of the other. There’s Gatorade at the end, people.
You can, you will.