You would be correct. I just did something I hadn’t previously thought I could do, run a half-marathon with crazy hills and finish with a time similar to other races I completed. I didn’t run regularly until about 5 years ago. It was something to be avoided like catching the flu, getting stuck in rush hour traffic or other painful events.
At the time I was bored and looking for a new challenge; my job was dull and I was not sure what I wanted to do. I kept getting information for Team in Training and I’m one to pay attention to signs. I went to a meeting and signed up to run a half-marathon. Still, while training I would do my best to avoid really big hills. Running 13.1 miles was one thing, running large hills was quite another.
My first half had rolling hills, nothing crazy and I had trained well for it. The second and third half-marathons were flat. I found the third kind of boring, plus the course looked endless. I’d been training for my fourth half and doing a lot of hills since my race was going to be in San Francisco. The good thing about hills is that you focus on the hill, not how long the course looks.
How did I decide to do a race that scared me? I was swayed by the perks, by the enthusiasm of a friend who completed it and my coach encouraging me to do it. A women’s race, running along the wharf and under the Golden Gate Bridge, chocolate from Ghiradelli at mile 11 and a Tiffany necklace instead of a medal? Sign me up!
I still don’t love the hills but I can run them. And I knew there would be one that I wouldn’t want to run, it was very steep and I could actually walk it faster. Arms pumping, body slightly tilted from the hips, back straight and shoulders relaxed. My coaches’ voices ran through my head and I kept my form. I also got up that hill faster than a lot of people who opted to run it.
Why? Because I trained and I built the confidence to know that I could. With this confidence I was also able to run up the hill at mile 9. I was also able to get up and run after falling down at mile 10.5. It hurt, I cut my knee, bruised & scraped up my hands and ripped my CWX running tights.
Ripping those tights are like ripping a pair of Spanx, quite a feat. A fellow runner helped me up and another ran back for my sunglasses, wonderful women that I did not know. A coach who is also a doctor checked me out, determined I could finish and sent me on my way.
It was thrilling to finish and know that I completed a personal challenge. That I could get back up after the fall and run 2.5 more miles. I wear that necklace proudly.
What challenge do you want to tackle? What is holding you back from attempting it?
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