I am not fast and that is OK. I am strong and I have endurance and that is better. At least for me, it’s better. Strength and endurance have served me well through the years…
Yesterday was my half marathon. It was the B.A.A. Half Marathon in Boston and it was a beautiful fall day for a 13.1 mile run. I am not a runner, I am not built like a runner, but I do run. This actually marked my 8th half marathon since 2003 and the 6th time doing this course (although they’ve reversed the direction since the last time I ran it in 2009). This year I ran to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a leader in the fight against cancer, and where I was treated for my breast cancer.
My training went well and I was excited to run this year not as a breast cancer patient, but as a breast cancer warrior! I set a goal for myself to beat my previous personal best (2008) of 2:01 and do it in under 2 hours, or in other words 1:59:59. Very aggressive since I am not fast. But everyone needs a goal and the last two years my goal was simply to finish, so why not?
Yesterday morning off I went and for the first couple miles I focused on how fast I was going, what my pace was, and what it should be. I was stressing myself out and not enjoying it at all. Then I remembered I am not fast. I’ve never been fast. I am not comfortable being fast.
There was no way I was going to do it under two hours and I was missing a beautiful day. So, I decided to focus on how great I felt, not how fast I was going. The next 10 miles were great! I started thinking how lucky I am to be doing this race again just two years after starting the whole breast cancer ordeal. How lucky I am that I live near such a beautiful city. How lucky I am that my awesome hubby dropped me off and then hung around to cheer me on. How lucky I am that my friends & family helped me raise $2,250 for Dana-Farber’s fight against cancer. How lucky I am that so many people sent messages last night and this morning to wish me luck. How lucky I am to still have Lefty (and Righty) even though they slow me down.
As we ran past the turn for Brookline Ave. I looked up at the Dana-Farber building and thought about all those Friday mornings in the chemo room on the 9th floor. I could smell it in my mind. I thought about how lucky I was to be out in the streets running this race, on this beautiful day, and never returning to the chemo room.
Somewhere between mile 7 & 8, I had to pee. I’d never stopped before, but then again I was 45 now, not 35. My chemically induced menopause does strange things to the female body and holding it for another 5+ miles was not an option. I was lucky there was a port-o-john and didn’t stress out about the time as I waited in line. For the next few miles I felt like a million bucks!
I saw Greg at mile 9 and then again at 11. I thought about I lucky I am to have him in my corner. He loves me, encourages me, supports me, coaches me, and sometimes humors me. I am a lucky girl, but it’s time to focus and finish this race.
As I reached mile 12, I saw two girls waving hysterically at me – it was Gail & Leeann, two of my Bentley girls!! They came to surprise me, how awesome. I was so excited to see them again as I knew I’d loop around there in the last mile, so I powered on and got close for some high-fives. Lucky girl to have friends like them for 28 years.
I finished and still felt great! The race didn’t take everything I had and I really enjoyed it. I am strong and have endurance. My time was 2:16. I am not fast and that is OK, I am a lucky girl.