Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A few years ago, right after the birth of my youngest child I decided to take up a new sport that would help me get back to my pre baby weight. I tried a lot of different activities. There was step aerobics, yoga and racquetball. But I never really developed that “love” athletes talk about when describing why they do what they do. I needed something simple, something that would fit into my busy life and something that would take almost no effort on my part yet yield phenomenal results. I needed a magic wand but instead my husband bought a treadmill.
I loved walking. In the beginning I could barely walk ten minutes. But, each week I would increase my speed and soon my slow walk turned into a steady jog. What started out as a 20 minute fitness regime was evolving everyday as I added miles and minutes to each run.
When my indoor running became dull, I ventured outside. Being outside created a new set of challenges, and forget boring. I had jumped off the treadmill and into Chariots of Fire. I loved it. Unlike the characters in Chariots of Fire, my goals were not to break speed records. My aspirations were simple. First, I wanted to start a run and second, I wanted to finish the run without passing out.
After more than 2 years of dedicated running, several 5ks, blisters and 7 pairs of running shoes, I decided to take my newfound love to the next level. I registered to run in a marathon. Never mind that I finished the race in 6 hours. When I crossed that finish line, I might as well have been the winner that day. I limped over to collect my medal and when I took off my shoes, 4 toenails went too. It didn’t matter. I was superwoman on that day and who needs toenails? Toenails are for sissies! I was no longer just Becky of Becky and Jay. I was no longer just Jacob and Jackson’s mom (although I treasure this title more than any). I was Becky, marathon finisher and sissy no longer!
Last weekend marked the second half marathon I’ve run and this time instead of going at training mostly solo, I had running buddies. One of my running buddies is an old friend who never thought she could run to the mailbox unless something was chasing her. But there she was on race day with her ipod, visor, and top of the line running shoes and the most important ingredient of all…Confidence. We were surrounded by more than 30,000 runners that day but for me there were only three people. There was Pricilla, Lynda and me. And we weren’t just friends when the finish line came into view, we were winners.
There is something very poetic about completing a goal that just a few months earlier seemed impossible. And while I adore Forrest Gump, maybe his mother had it all wrong. Instead of a box of chocolates, maybe life is like running a marathon. Some miles seem to never end, sometimes the hills are so steep that you need the encouragement of others to keep going and sometimes you want to give up, but in the end, when you cross that finish line you realize it was all worth it.
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