“Do you wanna fight?”
“Yeah, I wanna fight! I want to beat the hell out of fear and intimidation.”
“Well, then what are you waiting for? Put on your running shoes and lets run this damn thing.”
That was the conversation that took place in my brain earlier this morning while laying in bed. I’ve been bragging to everyone that I had this thing coming up. I tried recruiting people, but as the big day steadily approached, I realized that once again I was going to be doing this alone. It’s cool, I got this. Or do I?
There’s always some trace of doubt when you’re about to do something great and extraordinary. I’ve been worried that my pace isn’t good enough, I haven’t trained long enough, maybe I’m not that strong, I’m too to old to run a race now (how dumb is that?), I’m out of shape and not where I thought I would be physically at this point in my life. I wanted to give up before I’d even got out of bed, but something came over me. The idea that I just paid $30 for this race and wasn’t going to attempt the damn thing did not sit well with me. So I decided to grab my sunglasses, applesauce, keys, frozen water bottle, and head out the door.
Once there, I quickly realized that I probably should have eaten more food. My stomach started speaking to me in gibberish and then I worried that I might get a little weak because let me tell you, North Carolina heat and humidity is not a joke. When you’re hungry AND hot, the Incredible Hulk sometimes appears. Fortunately, he decided to chill out today. The feeling that you get once you stand at the START line and take in all of the positive energy and smiles around you, when you realize that you’re running a race for a good cause, in my case, helping families who have lost their firefighting husband or wife in the line of duty, you stop worrying about the small stuff. And when the whistle blows, that first step is all you need in order to win the fight against fear and intimidating.
Childhood Flashback: While I was standing at the START line today, I saw a couple with a little girl around the age of 8 or so. I didn’t know at the time, but that little girl taught me a very important lesson today. When I was about the same age as that little girl I remember walking with my mother from our house in the city to my grandfather’s house in the suburbs (2.5 miles) in the hot sun. When we reached the dirt road that lead to his house, I fell to my knees and screamed, ” I can’t walk no more.” To this day, my mother has not let me live down that moment and it has become a joke between the both of us. When I saw that little girl later, almost half way through the race, I saw her panting and yelling, “I can’t run anymore.” In that moment, I saw myself passing myself as that eight year-old who had given up, but with several differences. One, I’m older now, but two, we were on two different sides. That little girl still had quite a ways to go before completing the race, but for me, I was almost done. I realized that I was no longer a little girl who had given up, but a beautiful young lady who rose to the challenge. I hope that someday she will find her inner strength as well.
“Yeah, you did it! You finished your first 5K in over four years in 35.41 minutes. Even better, you beat your previous record by two minutes. Who cares if you’re going to be 30 years-old in less than a year? Right, now you’re one hot chick with another victory under her belt.”