Having just completed my latest challenge, a half marathon that is not lapped, meaning I could not stop and rest between laps. I am reminded that it is a more about mindset than ability.
I could have stopped and walked, or just walked the entire race. I would have received the same medal. Completed the same distance. Would I have felt I had accomplished as much?
I struggled during most of the race with myself. Unlike the last race I had to keep all my nutrition with me. Enough water in case the water stations ran out, I have heard many horror stories. A small pack filled with what is needed and emergency items.
I had to force myself to get up an hour earlier, to leave to catch the train. Then to be on my own in the starting wave. There were over 16,000 people there. No one would have missed me.
The last wave, were I was is where the slower runners, more joggers, and the walkers are. Some intend to walk the entire thing, others start out too fast and have to stop. I start out slow and stay slow.
My mind says, “You could walk, it would be much easier…Why don’t you walk”.
I tell myself to be quiet (ok, a little stronger than that for those who know me). I keep going.
People along the route cheer their friends, some cheer everyone. Those are the ones that bring tears to my eyes. Thanks for cheering those of us who have no one watching.
Two children are giving out small bags of jelly babies, so I go over and take one and thank them. They may never know how much that means, only 4 miles in and their kindness helps me to keep going.
The Tower of London is close and we will be running across Tower Bridge. Keep going.
The charity cheer squads yell and make tons of noise, it makes it easier to keep going.
Now in the Southwark and it slowly gets quieter, less crowds, very few cheering. the faster runners finished hours ago, so people got bored and went home or out for the day. I get slower. My pack is getting heavy.
I just have to make it to water station 4. My friend Dee is there volunteering. Mile 10 comes into view and one foot is sore, my ankle starts to ache as well. I keep going, water station 4 cannot be far. I see the station but no Dee, then I hear my name and there she is. she hugs me and my legs collapse.
Dee is a runner and knows what to do. She gets me back onto my feet and fills my water bottles up and sends me on my way. I just want to stop.
It is so painful now. I reach mile 11 and continue for a little while more before I am limping too much so I walk. The band at the side is taking a break so no music to help keep going, they don’t even cheer.
I can see mile 12 so start jogging again, the pain is less, only just over a mile to go. I will jog over the finish line!
It seems the finish is never going to come, the course twists, it says that it is close but I cannot see it. Then another corner and there is the finish by Cutty Sark.
Keep going, keep moving. Nearly there.
I step over the finish and my phone pings that I have a message. I am finished.
If I had listened to myself I would have walked or not even bothered, but I didn’t and now I have added another race to my book, I do have a physical scrapbook where I keep my race numbers and items and hang all my medals in my hallway.
I can do it if I keep moving forward.
You can as well.