I heard the title of this post a lot this past weekend.
Last weekend was the Bayshore Marathon. It was
supposed to be my second marathon. After 18 weeks of training, trading in nights out with friends (for early morning runs), and other “sacrifices”, I did not finish my marathon. Instead, I stopped after reaching 13.1 miles.
I made sure to “eat right” during the days preceding the race. I tried to maintain my usual diet, while slowly increasing my daily carb intake. Unfortunately, sometimes our systems just decide to be goofy anyways. That’s what happened to me. (Don’t worry, I won’t share every detail in my story)
Long story short, I became sick the night before the race. I slept for maybe two hours- combined. It was terrible. I woke up at 4:30AM to start getting ready for the race. I like to wake up early on race days (or long run days) so that I can eat as early as possible. The last thing you’d want on a race day is a crampy stomach because you waited too long to eat. Except on this Saturday, I knew I would have a crampy stomach throughout the race.
After debating internally, and with my mom, I decided to run. My thoughts:
If I run one mile, cool
If I run three miles, awesome
If I run five miles, that’s great
If I run 13.1 miles, that’s awesome
If I run the whole thing, that’s unbelievable and amazing.
(I know, I know my thoughts aren’t ingenious. But it was 4:30AM and I didn’t sleep- okay?! give this girl a break! )
So I started. The course was beautiful. I was surrounded by beautiful homes, trees, and (of course) the bay.
The bay is a little hard to see in this picture, because it blended in with the beautiful blue-gray-lavender sky. Looking at the bay, listening to John Mayer, and looking for my family and boyfriend helped make this run a lot more enjoyable. It wasn’t quite “fun”, but it was definitely a challenge I will always remember. And although I didn’t finish, I am still proud of myself for making it 13.1 miles. Will my time ever show up in the record books? Nope. I didn’t PR. And according to the Bayshore online results, I never even ran the race. But I know I ran. And at the time, I knew I needed to run. I couldn’t stand the idea of giving up completely, so I didn’t. I ran. And ran. And ran. And then I listened to my body and stopped. Could I have finished? Yes. Would I have hurt my body? This one I’ll never know for sure. But my body was telling me to stop, so I knew I needed to listen.
As much as runners like to plan, sometimes the unforeseeable happens. Sometimes, the stars don’t line up. Maybe we won’t be able to run the race at all. Or maybe we’ll start, and not finish. But either way we learn. We learn to listen to our hearts and our bodies. We learn to be thankful we can even run at all. And then we spend all day looking up future races.