The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work. (Oprah Winfrey)
It's been eight days since I ran my first half marathon. After three months and over 140 miles of training, I completed 13.1 miles in under 2.5 hours. All those numbers mean something, but the sense of accomplishment that overwhelmed me at the finish line is something I will hold onto for much longer.
The day before the race, my Mister and I drove out to the beach and went straight to the expo. Once I got all checked in, we dropped our bags off at the hotel and headed to a bar for a little NCAA basketball (must keep my Mister happy).
Our room had a mini kitchen, so we picked up groceries for the night instead of going out. A few of my coworkers had reservations, but I was feeling anxious and tired. The decision to cook "at home" proved to be a smart move. Preparing dinner calmed me.
I kept telling myself that I was ready, over and over again. I knew I was ready.
Before going to bed, I laid out everything I would need in the morning. The race started at 6:38 am, my alarm rang at 4:30. I woke up feeling like I had taken a nap.
We took a shuttle to the start and stood around in the dark for awhile. I instinctively began shaking out my arms and legs like I did before every race when I swam. It was a familiar feeling, but one I hadn't felt for years. I started to get excited and before I knew it, I was on my way — running longer than I ever had, achieving a goal I set months before.
The course was fun and interesting. You can watch a video of it here if you're curious. The weather was brisk, but the sun was out. We ran across two bridges and through a gated community with beautiful homes. There were people cheering the whole way through and my Mister caught up with me three times, giving me extra bursts of energy.
I held a much quicker pace than I was planning — thanks to adrenaline, endorphins and excitement. Having a rockin' playlist also kept me motivated. As I reached mile 12, I felt strong and excited to finish. I picked up my pace and nearly burst with delight when I came around the last turn. The announcer pronounced my name correctly (a small victory) as I finished 13.1 miles in the same time it took me to run 12 two weeks prior.
This whole experience has taught me a lesson I know I've learned before — setting, working towards and accomplishing goals feels remarkably good. There might not be anything more satisfying.
Image via my Mister