“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

Three weeks ago I sat in my car, embarrassed and melting in a puddle of tears. I was beyond disappointed in myself. I knew when I registered for my second half marathon that training was going to be hard. My schedule was booked crazy for weeks. I didn’t have time to properly train. I knew this and still I thought, per usual, “I’ll just make it work.”

The thing is, that doesn’t work so well when you’re not really a runner. It was pathetic. I had just completed probably the hardest-short-run since my first 5 miles two years ago and it didn’t take me long to realize I was completely void of self-care. I had physical pain and a huge mental block. I didn’t feel strong. I so badly wanted to give up, and I tried. Fortunately, unfortunately, I had paid my registration fee and there were no refunds. No way, no how, am I losing out on that kind of money. Race entries are no joke. The race goes on.

Once my self-loathing and pity-party wrapped up, I reinstated my commitment to 13.1. I’ve never run for time, I run for me. I run for the feeling of pushing personal boundaries and for the sense of accomplishment that comes with stepping across the finish line. But this time I was running for my family, too. This was the first time they’d ever been to anything like this. In the past there has always been some sort of conflict in schedules or travel so it just hasn’t worked out. This time they were going to be waiting at the finish line for me. Come hell or high water I was going to do it.

Race day arrived and it was ridiculously cold…for Raleigh in April. As well, it was a super early morning and there were multiple conversations of stopping even before the start. After mile marker 1 I began creating strategies and excuses for getting out of this utterly dumb decision. If I trip and need stitches it’s not reallllyy quitting. My family will still love me either way. Not being well trained is a perfectly adequate excuse. Here’s the thing, running is one challenge, running a race, yet another; but running in Raleigh, the City of Oaks …and hills…well that just completely sucks. By mile 5, I was still not in “my stride” (haha this makes me laugh to assume I’d ever get one) but I felt okay. I did a mind and body check. Nothing hurt, it was slowly warming up, I had no muscle cramping and I was doing it. In another mile or so I’d be more than half way. I’m not a quitter and my girls will be there in the end. All worth it, just keep going.   :::and step, repeat, step, repeat::::

Then something wonderful happened, mile marker 10. It was a beautiful sight. I loved it and I felt really good, okay, good-no, but not bad. I was in the home stretch and somehow I felt better this go around then I did my first half marathon. In Kiawah mile 11 just about sent me packing. Not today. Today, I sailed through and felt stronger and better at the finish line than I did at the start. I had a cheesy grin the whole last leg. Man! Who knew? And if I had actually trained appropriately I would’ve killed the time (that I don’t run for lol).

Here’s the coolest part, for the first time ever I understood what it meant to feel strong. Instantly my mommy-mode defaulted to the thought of childbirth, but this was (respectfully) better. Of course the end result doesn’t compare, our girls are my everything and those 16 and 30 hrs of labor were hard and strong work, but that was my body being taken over my another being forcing through me. Today, was 13.1 miles of me. I had no reason to go and every reason to quit, but I didn’t and it felt so, so good.

As I left the race I couldn’t help but catch a glimpse of one of the volunteer groups, the Jimmy V foundation. Of course! It made perfect sense…it had to be Jimmy V.

Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

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-ox-

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