Because you’re reading this post (and looking at the awesome pictures, courtesy of my friend Stacey Tibbs. Thanks, Stacey!) then you know I survived the Huntsville Half Marathon, in spite of missing the starting gun because I was coming from the bathroom. It’s one of the side of effects of the 21 day challenge. Out of the seventy plus of us in the group, two of us ran a half that day. I didn’t ask if Becky missed the gun too. 🙂
I felt a little defeated to begin with as the pack was waaaaaaaay ahead of me already. I started off running before I ever hit the start line and realized I was going WAY too fast. Christy had already told me “slow and steady.” I was used to running alone and I think the adrenaline of seeing all of those people out there (and people I knew) was amping me up a little too much to go past my limits. I needed to finish. I found a good pace, decided to stick with my theory (walk 60 steps after each mile) and be done with it. And it worked. Mostly.
There were times that I didn’t take the 60 steps (and sometimes it was less, rarely more until I got to about mile 11 and it may have been like 75) and I kept running. I didn’t wear a watch (everyone else did though. I think it made them neurotic). At every mile, people were calling out mile times so I knew I was running a little less than a 12 minute mile which was good because, on most days, I was running a 12 minute mile, if not less. (See, I have this theory about performing UNDER capacity so I won’t die. It probably worked for me Saturday but it’s something that has nagged me my whole life and I need to work on that.) I didn’t feel EXTREMELY discouraged until there was a part on the greenway where you are running on one side and other people are on the other side. I was waving at my church members, co-workers, former co-workers, and, well, just about everybody. I was approaching mile six or seven and they were on mile ten. I started to feel inadequate and, honestly, even though I know some of them were runners, younger, had no injuries, had more speed, I still feel bad and it probably slowed me down for a minute. I tried to block it out. That was until I remembered the lady yelling at me at mile three, “Can we do some Zumba?”
Stop the music. Lady, I know you mean well and I’m glad I’m popular but I am trying not to die out here and you are talking about Zumba?
The same thing happened at mile eleven. The lady said, “You are the the Zumba lady. I know you can do it!” UGH! The pressure. Maybe now people will understand why I went all the way to Ohio when I did the Warrior Dash. It was my first mud run and I didn’t want anyone to know me. I didn’t need anyone yelling, “Hey! Use those Piloxing legs to jump over that fire!” Or maybe I did.
The reason I almost didn’t do the race at all is because I was afraid of not being able to finish or finishing WAY behind everyone I knew, which is pretty much what happened. And, after the ten seconds it took me to get over it, I felt invincible for a few minutes. I, bad knees, tendinits in the achilles, used to weigh 232 lbs., got laughed at my fitness co-workers at one time because I only taught “yoga” and “dance”, not “real stuff”, just ran 13.1 miles. Why should I have ANY shame about that even if it took me 30 hours? I faced my fears. I pushed my limits. And my time was really 2:34:07 because, well, that bathroom thing……:)
What happens now? I do not shy away from people identifying me. It means I’m doing something right. Now they’ll say, “that Zumba girl ran a half marathon.” Being called out challenges me to want to go to the next level. I am still pretty sore so I can’t say I’ll run any time soon but I can’t say I won’t. I really did like the challenge. And I liked the fact that my son (who turns 15 today!) showed my shirt to his friend and said, “Look at what my mom did.” That made all of it worth it even more.
From here on out, no more fear. Game on.