There is something that I need to confess that has been on my chest for well over two years. Something that I am embarrassed to admit, but I will just come out and say it because it will make me feel better. Ready? In the last three years I have signed up for three half-marathons. In the last three years I have run zero – ZERO – half marathons. To put it into numbers a bit easier to understand, that’s like $350 in entry fees for something that I have never done.
It feels good to get this out, and really, the reasons for lack of follow through are simple: Work takes over. I can’t take the days off to travel. Life happens and the next thing you know I’m unable to getaway. I reluctantly cancel flights and hotel rooms and hope for another time. There is always another time.
Then there’s the longer answer: Despite months of training I don’t feel prepared. I worry that I’ll be in last place. Then when work rears it’s ugly little head, I have my excuse. I don’t have to follow through and it is valid in the eyes of friends and family, and I can at least say that I tried.
Let’s face it, deep down inside I know that I haven’t tried. What is that Yoda said? “Do or do not. There is no try.”
I excel at doing not under the guise of trying.
People see me running and getting thinner and fretting about how painful it is to run while equipped with incredibly flat feet. It seems that I am a wealth of excuses all of which center around the big ‘F’ – FEAR. I am terrified that despite months of work and hearing the stories of others who have done an entire 13.1 miles without dying, I still wonder what exactly would happen if I died around mile 11. Though morbid, trust me you’d think the same thing.
My last long run in preparation for a half-marathon to be run at the end of February was 11 miles though Albany, New York. It was January. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Upstate New York in January, or anytime between October and April, but imagine feeling like even stepping outside will cause your face to fall off thanks to the cold, the wind and the ice. But I ran all 11 miles over the river and through the woods. Putting my arms out, parallel to the ground in hopes of stopping myself from busting my ass over sidewalks covered in ice. I ran until I got all sweaty and my nose started to run and then the snot from my nose froze to my face.
Ok, that last part didn’t happen but the rest of it? So true.
I was able to do that last run and then weeks later one thing led to another, and the next thing you know, it was goodbye Disney World, hello four to six months in Washington, DC. Now, you’d think that after all of this procrastinating and how good I am with coming up with excuses that I’d be loathe to try again. That I’d never want to step foot in sneakers again, and perhaps I’d just stick to the elliptical. But you would be wrong. Though I am the worst at follow throug,h the “Runner’s high” is no myth. There is something beyond satisfaction with oneself. It’s a deeper feeling of knowing that with each step I can and I will and that by the grace of God, I will most likely not die.
So I’ve started over again after a very long hiatus. I’m headed back to basics. Way back. I’ve spent the last five weeks doing the Couch to 5K program, which will lead into Bridge to 10K, which will lead into a half-marathon this spring because I deserve to do this thing for myself, no matter what. I may not be the fastest runner and I might have some extra pounds ’round my waist, but there’s something about that run, no matter how much I dread taking those first steps, in the end I smile.
I’m gross and stinky but I’m smiling.
And I owe it to myself to have that adrenaline rush and smile like that more often.
Heather Barmore writes about the hodgepodge of her life at No Pasa Nada and about politics at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue. She started her personal blog as an early twenty-something with no idea of what she wanted to do in life. She is now a late twenty-something with the same problem! (Who knew?!) She started Poliogue because she loves politics more than anyone you’ve ever met and wanted to share that love (or obsession) with anyone and everyone. She now lives in her hometown of Albany, NY where she works in politics while writing (or as she says, ‘creatively whining’) on the side. You can read more from Heather on her blog, No Pasa Nada.