Earlier this year I made a big, scary goal for myself. It seemed so unreal when the words “I want to do a half marathon” came from my mouth. In my head I was like “What?! Girl, what are you thinking? Are you crazy?” At first, I didn’t even tell my family or closest friends. I was afraid that if I did I couldn’t back out when that fear loomed over my head like a giant rain cloud ready to burst. But, I did tell my GirlTrek sisters because I knew they would understand. Not everyone gets why I
want need to walk everyday. It’s my sacred time, my daily self-care. Well, they were very encouraging and a few of them were also planning on participating the half marathon. Eventually, I told my husband and sister. They were also very supportive of my decision.
So, I started training a couple of months after finishing the Crescent City Classic 10K. The heat and humidity of a New Orleans summer challenged me to say the least. As the months turned into weeks and then days before the big day I felt anxiety building inside. It was then I had to lean on my WHY. Why did I want to do this? Two reasons – to prove to myself that I could and my children are watching. I thrive on challenges and this was a big one for me. However, knowing that my children were encouraging me and wanting to see me succeed meant the world. They’ve watched me walk, exercise and participate in races. They have even participated with me. I was showing them what was possible in achieving your goals.
All the anticipation, wonder and preparation for this half marathon is over. Whew! I’m happy to report that I completed my first ever half marathon. The absolute farthest I’ve ever walked non-stop – 13.1 miles. I’ve gone from “strolling” daily to hitting a 15 minute mile. From taking almost an hour to complete a 5K to doing daily 5Ks. I want you to know that it’s possible to do that crazy thing in your head – make it a reality.
Here are my top five takeaways from my journey to a half marathon:
- Everyone who starts out with you, won’t finish with you. As I mentioned before, several of my GirlTrek sisters participated in the half marathon with me. There were seven of us. Four of us started at the same time, but we all finished separately. I couldn’t keep up their pace so I stayed in my lane. I caught up with them a few times, but I was more concerned with keeping the time goal I set for myself. Sometimes, you have to leave others behind to get to what God has for you in life. No shade, it’s just that you can’t take everything and everyone with you where you’re going.
- You have to run your own race. When I decided to go for a half marathon I did it as a challenge for me and no one else. There wasn’t a soul who was going to run this race for me. I had nothing to prove to anyone, but myself. It was nice having others there that I knew. We all started out together, but ultimately had to keep going at our own pace to finish. My goal was to finish – no matter what. In life, especially with social media, people are so concerned with keeping up with someone else’s level of success. What is for you is for YOU.
- With God leading you, NOTHING is impossible. Did I tell you that this was a bit scary for me? I had never walked 13.1 miles in one stretch – EVER. Looking at the map of the route was a bit daunting, but I asked God to lead me on my journey. I prayed daily for endurance and strength. I prayed for the nervousness to subside so that I could focus on the task at hand. Meditating on Phillipians 4:6 and Hebrews 11:1 kept me going when I felt like I couldn’t take another step.
- You were born to stand out. About half way through the race I noticed there were a few people in front of me and not many behind me. For a long stretch it seemed like I was the lone ranger trudging along the route. For a few miles I stood out, apart from the pack so to speak. Lately I’ve come to realize that I was being propelled to the forefront. Rather reluctantly I might add. It’s where I’m supposed to be.
- Don’t give up, don’t give in! It’s hard, I get it. The end seemed so far off. The closer I got, the more it seemed like someone moved the finish line. Doubt started to creep in, but then I prayed. My spirit was reassured that I didn’t come this far to give up. I pressed on until my race was done. It may have been a half marathon, but ain’t no half steppin’ allowed.
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