I did this today:
and it was fun.
We also did this today:
It was fun, too, but quite a bit less physically demanding!
For the purposes of this post, I’ll stay with the half-marathon, though.
Due to a number of factors – mostly the hypothermic / winter aspects of this run – it had to be changed from four 5(ish)K loops on a golf course, to four out-and-back 5(ish)K trips.
The out-and-back nature of the course meant all runners were constantly able to watch all other runners. Literally, at every point on the run, I just had to look across the road to see other people doing the same run as me – just heading out as I was heading in, or vice versa.
This meant, of course, yes I could see those ahead of me and, sure, they were pretty amazing. Like the guy who I thought “How can he ever keep that pace up?” and he not only kept it up, but continued to pull away from me throughout the run.
But, while those people had my admiration and respect, they weren’t the ones who inspired me.
This was the first run I’ve done where I constantly got to see those slower than me. In fact, by the third time out-and-back, I was lapping many of them. And, oh my gosh, were they inspirational.
It’s one thing to be in my shoes. To have previously completed a half-marathon. To have trained all winter. To know, barring some weird event, that you’re going to finish. I pretty much knew I was going to finish that run today and, knowing that, it wasn’t really brave of me to start it. It was fun. It was a chance to exert myself. It was a personal challenge to run well, and quickly. But I wasn’t really taking a risk.
This morning I saw lots of people taking risks. Lots of people going above and beyond what they probably felt like they could really do.
I kept thinking “Oh, thank goodness this is my third lap,” and on the final lap I was thinking “Yay! This is it!” and meanwhile I was passing people who were still on their second lap. Who still had over an hour ahead of them.
Now that is brave, and that is patient, and sticking to that requires commitment.
So, instead of watching the guy in front and thinking “If he can do it, I can too,” I was watching all the people walking, or very slowly jogging – just putting one foot in front of the other – and I was thinking, “Wow, if they can do it – if they can stick with it, and put themselves out there – I can, too.”
I hope they’re all cherishing their finishers’ medals tonight … along with maybe a nice beverage of their choice and, possibly, some chocolate … because if anyone earned it, it was those people who dared to set out not really knowing how they were going to finish.