So I decided to take the plunge and go for my first half marathon! And not only that, but I’m going to turn it into a vacation too, (something tells me I’ll need it!)…on good ol’ Martha’s Vineyard! Yeehawww!!
Of course, the first few months of learning how to run wasn’t about entering races at all, in fact, the thought of it made me ill! No, really! I am, at heart, a competitive person, but I knew I’d be slow as molasses compared to most of the people in this group and the fear of coming in last made me really anxious! But one day A SNAILS PACE running store was having a group Pub Run and I decided to just get over myself and go! You know, support them as much as they had supported me type of thing…
You know that scene in the movie 8 Mile where Eminem is going up for his first time to do his rap battle thing in a nightclub packed with people? They show him hurling his mothers spaghetti in the bathroom from nervousness before he goes on stage and in the end doesn’t do very well for his first performance! 😦
So that was me except I never did hurl, but believe me it was right there people! I downed one of those energy gels before we took off thinking that it would help propel me toward the middle or front of the pack, (I knew nothing at the time about when to eat those things). That, my friends was way too much sugar in my belly! Coupled with nerves I felt SOOOOO NAUSEOUS! And on top of that? You got it ! I was dead last…(I wouldn’t have been, but the 85 year old behind me with COPD got picked by his grandson toward the end!) So humiliating! Man, oh man, I was pretty sure I’d NEVER participate in any group run ever again much less enter a race!
About 7 months later, (and banking on the fact that lightening never strikes twice in the same place), I agreed to do a 5k at night in downtown LA. Even though I had become a little bit better runner by then I was still afraid of coming in last, getting sick again or both. But what the heck…I needed to get back up on that horse sometime right?
My father had died 4 years earlier, he and I were much alike. When I was young he was a Captain for the United States Army and a member of the Army Corps Of Engineers, an honor he so humbly took pride in. I was never in the military, but his and my tenacity to work hard and see something through was the bond that stuck our souls together like glue.
So when the horn blasted for us to start running that night, I could feel my nerves tangling up and my throat closing again. I reached down, turned Pandora on and focused on the sea of steady runners in front of me, my heart beating hard, too hard…
And that’s when my father spoke to me…(in the form of a disco song by the S.O.S Band)
“Sit back and relax a while, You’ve been working too hard and that’s a fact, Sit back and slow down a while, Take sometime to laugh and smile, seems we never take the time to do, All the things we want to..”
“So baby you can do it, Take the time, Do it right, You can do it baby, Do it tonight! Baby you can do it , Make the time, Make it right, You can do it baby, Do it tonight!”
Whoa!!!! I hadn’t heard that song in years and lucky for me it was the long version! The tempo was steady, relaxed, and it made me smile to think my dad might be running right alongside me! The night couldn’t have been colder, clearer and more magical than that….thank you! Oh thank you!
Everything I ever did or tried to accomplish in my life my father was always very proud of me. And I didn’t have to come in first nor would it have mattered if I came in last because the lesson he forever tried to teach me was to simply ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
So, I will enjoy this adventure to Martha’s Vineyard and will try my best to do well, but wherever I end up in the pack, I will be thankful to even be there at all! I cannot wait to have my senses filled with the sights and sounds of what comes from that morning! And somewhere there, amongst the crowd, my dad will be rooting for me!
No mater who YOU are I will always be rooting for you too, through the good days of running and the “not as good as yesterday” running. Open your eyes. Fill your lungs with oxygen. Just GO BABY GO!
BECAUSE YOU CAN!
I just started a 16-week training program so wish me luck!
Better yet…wish me a Happy Wonderful Journey!!