I am in the airport, waiting for my departing flight to Richmond. I am here alone after a change of plans. Earlier this week, we got the news of a crisis in Newman’s family. All I can say about the situation is that there was no question that Newman would need to back out of his trip with me, and I have not thought that much about the race since hearing the news. My thoughts are with the person dealing with the crisis and with Newman who is stepping onto what promises to be a long and challenging road ahead.
This morning, I dragged myself out of bed and got to work early thanks to my mom, who was visiting and offered to give me a ride to work and then later to the airport. I was feeling pretty low with the reality of the race sinking in, feeling off-focus, under-trained, distracted and disappointed that my biggest cheerleader would not be there to see me cross the finish line. Despite getting a pep-talk from Kristen the night before, I was still feeling like I wished the race could have come at another time. My heart was just not in it anymore.
When I walked into work, there were signs up all over the door, my desk, my chair, and all over my classroom. “Good luck on the half marathon! Run like the wind!” My friends had sent me a message, and it couldn’t have been better timed. I felt a little rush of joy at being acknowledged and a rush of excitement for the race. Throughout the day, people asked me about it, keeping it at the forefront of my attention. Students wished me luck as they headed out of class. Colleagues told me I was ready, whether I felt I was or not. I tried to take it in.
Newman told me the other day that I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been in all the time he’s known me. I was surprised to hear it. As women I think we too often are taught to think of ourselves as most fit when we are thinnest. I do not weigh less than I do when I started training. If anything, my belly has grown as my calorie intake increased and ab workouts stopped. But Newman is right; I am strong. It happened gradually enough that I forgot to appreciate it. I now think of 6-8 miles as no big deal. That alone is worth celebrating, not to mention my firmer muscles.
The real reward of the race is knowing I can set a goal and meet it. No matter what my final time is, crossing that line will show me and my supporters what I am capable of, and that feels good. I know I will be nervous before the race, but I am sooooo excited to cross that line with Kristen and celebrate with both of my blog-mates. Even though KHP can’t run and Newman will be cheering from afar, the important thing is the journey we have all taken together to get to this moment. I wouldn’t trade one ache, post, or mile of it for anything. See you after the finish-line!