13.1 miles is a lot of miles. I know because this morning, at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m., I ran 13.1 miles.
This was my first half marathon, and my emotions ran the gamut. When the alarm went off at 5:15 a.m., all I could think was, “Why? WHY?????”
And then, “Must. Have. Diet. Coke. Immediately.” Which I promptly did. Trust me, you don’t want to ignore the voice in your head at 5:15 a.m.
But as I stood at the start line waiting for the race to start, surrounded by 15,000 thousand women, the exhaustion faded into exhilaration. And I thought: “I’m running a half marathon!!! That’s kinda awesome of me.” Scratch kinda. Just plain awesome.
The exhilaration of the race and my natural competitiveness helped push me a long. I promised myself I could walk after I hit the 10-mile mark, but I kept running (err…jogging), one foot in front of the other. Somewhere around mile 7, the pain set into my leg muscles, but it is amazing what your body can do when you don’t give in. I marveled at the sheer persistance we humans are capable of. I has always been the kind of person who promised up and down I would never subject myself to a half marathon/marathon. Why in the world would I willingly subject myself to such agony? But there I was, knocking down the miles one by one, running farther than I have ever run before. And when I crossed the finish line after 2 hours, 27 minutes and 6 seconds of running, I felt pure joy. I gobbled down a banana, collected my Tiffany necklace and my finisher’s t-shirt and exulted in my accomplishment.
The exultation lasted about 15 minutes.
Then, I remembered how much my feet hurt, and my stomach started making odd noises that I’m pretty sure a stomach is not supposed to make. I moaned and groaned as I shuffled my way home and collapsed into bed. But even this pain has a silver lining. The stiffness in my legs is a reminder of my accomplishment, a reminder that the limits I set for myself are meant to be crushed.
But just for the record: I will NOT be signing up for a full marathon anytime soon.