I don’t run. I hate to run. Only sprinting around the bases playing softball or in a small space to play racquetball. I don’t run on the golf course and only through the airport if I am within minutes of missing my flight.
I just don’t like to run. The timed mile in gym kept me up at night with fake headaches and any other excuses I could muster up to make mom keep me home from school. I hated running the mile as much as I hated math. They were one in the same to me.
So the fact that I wanted to run a 5k in my lifetime is way beyond comprehension for me. But it has appeared on my 127 things to do before I die list. And it is now crossed off.
On Saturday, I ran a 5k for the first time in my life. Only once before did I run 3 miles at once, and it happened a few weeks ago when I wanted to test myself to make sure I could physically complete it. walk, run, didn’t matter. I just waned to make sure I didn’t keel over afterward. I finished.
Possibly the simplest yet most important lesson ever learned. Finish…
I was blessed with friends who helped me run it. I had support and love and a lot of cheering fans.
In fact, somehow, there were 7 or 8 people at the finish line I swear yelling my name. I learned later that they were by others who heard them. They were cheering for me to finish. In big bulky knee braces, bright red, still a bit overweight, and a grimace on my face they may never forget. It wasn’t pretty. But I finished.
When we were halfway through, I remember looking up at a lady who kept bouncing back and forth between being just ahead of us and being just behind us. I stated that I wanted to finish before her.
We kept running and as I was slowing down more toward the last mile, she kept widening the distance she was ahead of us. I realized quickly that we wouldn’t catch her again.
But in that moment, it didn’t matter. I quickly reminded myself that I wasn’t racing against her…
I was racing against me. And Since I had no time to beat or personal best, I just knew that I wanted to finish. And finish strong.
As we made the last turn, the burn in my legs and knees was almost overwhelming. I couldn’t breathe from the cold I had developed just the day before, and my chest felt like it may erupt out of my rib cage. It was pure torture. My truth for so long was that I don’t run.
But no one could deny that in those last moments, approaching the finish line, I was running.
I wanted to badly to feel good about the finish that I took all I could gather from within and started a flat out sprint toward the line and the cheering group of people I had never met.
I finished. And I finished strong.
And in the end I knew that I could re-speak my truth. What I believed and what I now know are two different things.
While I won’t go as far as stating that I am a runner, I will say I ran a 5k and I finished it in a sprint.
And that knowing is a beautiful truth.
The race wasn’t with that lady I wanted to beat, or with my friends who ran with me…
It never is.
The race is with myself.
And I am a finisher.