On a previous blog I wrote in 2015, I talked about how it felt to watch the Chicago Marathon and what it meant to see my now husband-then boyfriend, race. My observations were that the fans, volunteers, and races all provided an incredible race experience that motivated me to run this race one day.
In 9 days, that day will finally be here.
3 years ago, I started running from a standing start – it was incentive to stop drinking and start getting my life together. It was incentive to impress my boyfriend and have a common connection. Seeing Chicago, gave me incentive to want more. To be a part of the big race. It was a year of physically getting back on my feat and mentally finding motivation to want more for myself.
2 years ago, running took off. With about a year of solid training under my belt, I was running faster than I ever thought possible, placing higher and running faster splits that was expected of me. But I was upset with myself constantly, was not supported by a lot of my family, and was chasing worthiness, coming up short time and time again. It was a year of great physical feats and mentally trying to hide from pain while chasing big dreams.
1 year ago, I was trying to rebuild myself after a tough job and dealing with some emotional/psychological health issues. It was like I was constantly pushing up against these two things- feeling unworthy and like I was “wrong” to want more for myself, and couldn’t break through. Some was mental but through time we found out a lot was physical. I had gotten my cycle back and as a result, got anemic. It was a year of gritty physical feats and mentally running head first into the much of pain and being brave.
This year, I rebuilt myself even more, finding a way to stay relatively healthy through two cycles and learn the skill of racing to win. I focused on having integrity and handling as much as I could before burnout, staying true to myself, and trying scary things. Mentally, I still struggle with the fact my times are not where they were 2 years ago and physically, I feel a different kind of tired. But irregardless, I am pressing forward to discover something about the me I am faced with today. It is a year of being smart with my body and being positive with my mind.
Now, I am back where I started – being inspired to run in the city I love, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and to dream big. I have run both fast and slow, being crippled by unworthiness and unable to enjoy the freedom and love I have of running. I cannot and will not let this old mentality ruin this race for me. This is the year of heart, and my heart is full and ready to run.
I think the marathon transforms all of us, and I would like to add that the build up does the same. I have transformed, grown, and used lessons (and will use lessons) that have made me now, made me then, and will make me these things – enough, brave, a believer, and someone with heart.
On the other side of the finish will be another lesson, one that took 3 years to get. A time, a place, or anything that can be put in a spreadsheet won’t describe everything I became in 26.2 miles. Or any of us, really. United, we race, walk, cheer, believe, and dream together of a life where we accept who we are today and believe in who we will be tomorrow.
That to me, is together forward.