Once in a while, I think it’s really important to take on a personal challenge. This kind of challenge questions your inhibitions, and makes you unsure of how things will even turn out! I’m not saying I like being outside of my comfort zone, but I always learn a lot about myself once I go there.
This past winter, one of my best friends told me that she was planning to do the Portsmouth Market Square Day 10K again this year, and that I should join her. She’s struggled with a lot of health issues over the past couple of years (including learning she has Crohn’s Disease), impressively she’s been more on top of her wellness than ever before. I thought, “Isn’t she amazing to conquer a 10K with asthma and Crohn’s?” AND to boot she already did this run last year. I usually check something like that off of the proverbial life list and never look back!
Inspired by Alex, I registered online and had grand plans. “Training” turned into a Spring full of rainy mornings (“I can’t run in that!”), time-consuming home improvements, and some travels that all collectively ate away at my budgeted “get-good-at-running” time. When Saturday, June 14th rolled around, neither Alex nor I had run in a week, and I’d only run a handful of times for any sort of stretch in the past few months. I was excited rather than terrified standing there among the 2,200 runners at the start of the race, and this surprised me a lot. Maybe it’s because I was there with a friend who’d still love me no matter what happened. (I think that was a really big part of it). I was honestly unsure of what would happen. This was a chance to see what we are made of and Alex and I were open to any outcome.
We started slowly and paced ourselves. I found my natural cadence to be slightly slower than hers, and although I felt I might have held her back a little, I knew that last year she had to stop at mile 4 to walk a bit. Before we knew it, Alex was saying, “The mile 4 marker must be somewhere around here…” and a friendly gal running near us said, “You missed it a while back, actually.” We were stoked! How awesome that we were actually doing well enough not to be counting every step. We missed the marker at mile 5 as well and before we knew it, we were heading up the final hill. We coasted to the finish line on the hill’s downslope and found our way to the snack tent and then off to stretch by the water.
We were both a little wobbly. I knew my knees would feel it the next day, but overall we really were proud of ourselves. We could have struggled. We could have needed to stop. We could have tripped and fallen. Her asthma could have caused her to become short of breath. I could have embarrassed myself (there are certain performance pressures to being a fitness professional). However, none of these things happened. We took it slow and steady, and although we didn’t win the race that day, we sure were proud of what we’d done. The experience reminded me to jump into life now and then, even when I don’t know what will happen.