“I was a complete coward but went ahead and did things anyhow”- Pema Chödrön
This past Saturday I completed my first half marathon in Luxembourg. There are a few important features of this marathon that made my brain a bit wobbly considering it: 1) My jerky knee. I hadn’t trained more than 9 miles, and that was three weeks prior and it hurt 2) the fear that I would hurt my hip and be out another month running 3) I was IONS behind the shape I was in when training for the Marrakesh one I had to bail on because of the the accident. I didn’t think I could even FINISH really. So my mojo was a bit deflated. Running, for me, is 80% mojo. 4)my best friend out here, the only person I’ve run with, felt ill and cancelled at the last minute. BAH! 5) it started at 7pm at night….when I am winding down, not gearing up.
But when it all came down to it: I was afraid.
I was afraid of feeling less than…not good enough…not strong enough…and most of all, capable, despite all my good intentions.
Don’t go and try to tell someone “don’t…you shouldn’t…that’s silly, to feel that way.” Because we should. All the time, evidence shows us that our best intentions may not be enough.
But I HAD to run. Or at least show up.
Looking back, I can’t describe how I felt. But I remember, feeling AWED. “In fact”, doesn’t exist. But in memory, it felt good. I felt good. I truly wouldn’t change a thing about my run. First, I didn’t worry about the time on the clock. I strutted out, letting the hip swing side to side and just attempting to soak up the experience of being boxed in like starved chickens released from their coop. I think the hip felt happy being a little limited by the herd. At first all drizzly and coldish in jogging shorts and shirt, the sky cleared by 7:20, and the temp felt poised. Despite a 45 second potty break, quite early, and a less than pristine and interesting course, I managed a steady 9.40 mile pace the first half and an 8.45 pace the second…
A few surprises:
1) I now believe that slapping the hands of children 7 and under (before they reach the developmental habit of intentional lying) gave me a fun infusion
2) An orange suck every other water break was more about feeling good than feeling fueled
3) the high after completion felt quite similar to the fear the week before, and yet, amplified by the well earned fruit, nuts, nutrition bars, quick leg massage, and sense of ALIVEness that followed.
I have NO pictures of the event to share, too busy wrapping my head around the psychological experience of “preparation” and the physical process of completion. But I did get a shot of the PM cheesecake and coffee that fueled my spirit beforehand:
Of course, I do have a few snap shots of Sunday after…my adventures in Luxembourg, which I think tallies up my life pretty well
Where’d that shot go of chomping McDonalds fries at 12:30 go? (It actually is way more romantic than it sounds…but still, no picture for posterity.) My first McDonalds in….more than 5 years, I think
Sunday morning hour long stroll through the gorge…this time, not so difficult “just to walk” instead of my usual morning craving to jog
Sunday morning wine tasting at the Vinmoselle Cooperative….known for their excellent whites (they do 2/3rds of the wine in the country)
Then a lunch (a superb Riesling with a French styled Salad Nicoise) bookended with a leisurely stroll along the Moselle River
Rounded out with sitting on my patio as the sun set, sharing a SUPERB trappist beer (shot stolen, I must confess) and a quick episode of No Reservations: (He drank it up in Prague.)
Really, everything just as it should be. Although searching for my completion time, and finding out 2….01! 01!???!#!**** are you kidding me? ONE minute over??? Again, foiled by a mental picture of good enough. I refuse to have small standards eek my achievement from this first experience…because the achievement wasn’t about running. It was actually about staying. Staying with that fear, and letting it own me.
Signed up for another in September already. This one comes with a bottle of wine at the end.
See K Run…
A bit faster…ya think?
“Fear is a universal experience. Even the smallest insect feels it. We wade in tidal pools and put our finger near the soft, open bodies of sea anemones and they close up. Everything spontaneously does that. It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold onto. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”