It's not the distance, it's not the course map, it's not the metal, and it's certainly not the "label". I wanted to run a race for a long, long time and, I'll be honest, at first I think I wanted to run a race for the sense of accomplishment-- for the sense of self-satisfaction and boost of self-esteem. "If I could run a race, I'd surely feel better about myself." While running was something I learned to enjoy-- something that became my ulitmate coping mechanism, it was also something I learned I could "master" (if by master, you mean fail at). In fact, every time I seemed to build my endurance my health weakened. Last year, I thought I was going to do it. I was training for the Broad Street Run and I thought was happy. However, I wasn't thinking with a healthy mindset and I failed to be intuitive with my feelings. I lost track of the bigger picture and ultimate goal: to be healthy and happy. Rather, I chose instant gratification. Consequently, I had to drop out of the Broad Street Run a week before race day. I was devastated.
This year, I vowed to do something different. I promised to work through the most frustrating thoughts and the most challenging feelings. I wasn't going to let the past dictate the person I could be. I had the chance to start fresh and to begin again-- to do something different.
So, here I am. It's the night before this year's Broad Street Run and I have my bib and race outfit laid out neatly on my bedroom floor. This year, as I trained, I realized I had something of much greater value than any sense of self-satisfaction or high self-esteem. I have my health. And to that, I feel pride. I feel fucking great. There may be daily struggles and challenges as well as things I wish I could change. But, here I am. I'm not looking for pity or compliments, but I've worked my ass off to get to this point. I challenged myself beyond limits I knew I was capable of reaching, and I want to take a moment to internalize it all. Yep, here I am. Ready to conquer my first race. Let's do this.