This past September, I stood at a church picnic, chatting with a few “runner” friends and mistakenly commented that I had always wanted to run the Turkey Trot, an 8K run on Thanksgiving morning and the oldest foot race in the country. Well. You don’t have to say that twice when you’re surrounded by runners. “So why don’t you?”, they asked in unison. “You should.” Major eye roll. Open mouth, insert foot without running shoe. Because in September, I wasn’t a runner. That’s why. And the thought of possibly being able to run 5 miles was completely ridiculous. I was practically sure I would NOT be able to do it. Inspired by one friend’s comment that running is simply “putting one foot in front of the other,” I started running that week. I had a little over 2 months and decided that I was going to do it. Ugh.
But I did it! I really did it. I had asked my 19 year-old son if he would be up for it too and happily, he said yes. So together we headed out in the dark on Thanksgiving morning, joined by another friend as well, and made our way downtown. And I could not be more thankful that we did.
At the risk of sounding dramatic, the experience of this race was one I will never forget. I had an absolute blast. And with my son by my side–the fact that we were sharing those moments and running together–well, I was one happy girl. The energy and atmosphere were overwhelming. Thousands of runners, thousands of bystanders cheering us on and wishing us well. Running through the streets of downtown Buffalo. Sprinting through the finish line, a few seconds behind my son and seeing his smiling face as I crossed. A total emotional high that lasted all day and then some. I took mental snapshots that I have already replayed many, many times.
The ultimate ending to the story for me is that I set a goal and worked hard to meet it. I made new choices and rearranged schedules and set early alarms. I did it. Many days it sucked. Many days I really didn’t feel like running. But I am incredibly proud of myself for pushing through. And believe it or not, that won’t be my last race. In fact, I can’t wait to run another one. Did I mention I’m a runner now?
I am embarrassed to say that what I’m NOT is a goal-setter. I wish I were. But I think this is going to change too. (I was going to write “I hope this will change too”– but then I corrected myself– I didn’t reach my goal by hoping. It was by making intentional choices and a lot of hard work.) This whole experience has inspired to me to find other areas of my life that need a reawakening. The only thing stopping me is me. And I have decided that I am way too smart to be the only thing standing in my way.