What shocked me most of all was how doable it was. Not necessarily easy, of course, but completely within my capacity to do. It was an amazing feeling coming up on Mile 10 - previously the farthest I've ever run - and realized that I felt great and had enough gas in the tank to increase my pace. Despite my aching, aching feet (which started talking to me around miles 5 or 6 and didn't let up) and my intermittent hunger pains, I was so excited just to be in the moment.
For the last few miles when our conversation, which had been steady up until that point, started to ease off, I would occasionally find myself wanting it to be over, wanting to be at the finish line so I could stop and eat and drink and celebrate. Whenever that happened, though, I reminded myself that this was the only first time I was ever going to be running 13.1 miles at this beautiful place, with the weather we were so blessed with, with my sister, during this wonderful, life changing year. I tried to mentally relax, to be where I was, and to enjoy the present. Hearing the huffs and puffs of the runners around us, passing them or being passed by them, basking in the moments where there were spectators and supporters - and at that point, much faster runners who had already finished the race - and laughing at the one guy at the aid stand who instead of calling out "Water!" called out "Mimosas!"
It sounds incredibly simplistic, but it's something yoga tells us to do constantly - instead of yearning for the past or anxiously awaiting the end of something, be where you are. It might not be easy - and it might not be as overwhelmingly meaningful to you as this race was to me - but you will get so much more out of each and every experience.
My main life philosophy was, I'm only slightly ashamed to admit, cribbed from a Yogi Tea Teabag (for the record, I feel the quality of the little teabag wisdom phrases has declined over the years...) and it reads "The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment." As I've written before - that's a lot easier to do when you're staying present for every moment.
A funny little post script to this weekend - I went for my first run since the race early yesterday morning. I only planned an easy 3 mile run around Astoria Park, just to get my body moving again. Halfway through, I started feeling hip pain - that I hadn't felt at all during or after the race - and walked for most of the last mile. As my sister said earlier, some mornings you can run 13.1 like it's no problem - some mornings you can barely run 3. It's humbling!
And without further rambling, some pictures from my fabulous photo (and video!) taking sister - to whom I owe a great debt for having this idea in the first place.
|3.1 miles in and feeling fabulous!|
|At around the 6 mile mark or so...almost halfway!|
|Heavenly reward for all that running...|
|We had such a blast at Mt. Atlanticus with Megan's friend Kenny, who also ran the race and was so much fun to play with this weekend.|