It’s finally race day. I’ve been dreaming of this day since I started running on my first day of summer vacation. It’s been 129 Days since I was a non-runner and I’m more than proud of myself for having made it to this particular morning. I’ve learned a lot about myself since becoming a runner. First of all, I have discipline. For the longest time I didn’t think I did, I was the queen of making plans and then not following them, but it turns out that when I really set my mind to something, I can do it. As I completed each workout of the Couch to 5K program, I was proud of myself. I fed on that pride when it came time to head out the door for my next workout. There were only two workouts that I didn’t make it through over the course of the whole summer. One due to extreme heat and dehydration, and one probably related to the same issues. My rule was that when I didn’t make it through a workout, I didn’t get to take the next day off, I had to go out and run. It turns out that that is incredible motivation when you’re 10 minutes into a 30 minute workout. Who wants to go and do those 10 minutes over again the next day??
Second, I learned that my body is stronger than I thought it was. It turns out I can run. It turns out I can work through pain. It turns out that when I push myself to do something, all of a sudden I am capable of doing things I never thought possible… like riding a bike for 3.5 hours straight when I hadn’t been on a bike in 14 years. (Ok, so I had to ice my quads and take a steady regimen of ibuprofen for two days after that…)
Finally, the lead up to race day has made me more aware of something that I think I always kind of knew. My negative self-talk is almost deafening. Over the last few days I have had dreams of not making it through the race, I have heard myself thinking that I’m not strong enough, that I won’t have the willpower, that I should have trained more. Instead of thinking of all the days that I did train this summer and this fall, or focusing on the fact that when the school year started I still managed to run at least once a week, I’ve found myself focusing on all the times I didn’t run, all the times I should have run, how I am totally not prepared for race day. I am nervous, I’m afraid I won’t make it, I’m afraid I’ll embarrass myself in front of my family, but as I was talking to my dad last night he said something that helped. He told me that it’s not an option not to finish. And I think that’s what I’ll keep in mind today. I’ve worked too hard to not finish. I can’t not finish. Even if I cross the finish line at something that barely qualifies as a run, I will run every step. I will finish the race.