This morning I was supposed to run my first half marathon.
I got into running, for the first time in my life, this summer to cope with stress and to get back into shape. When I first started out I had no intention of running a race. You see, running has never really been my thing.
I played softball for ten years. I was a mean third baseman with a quick arm and I loved stepping between the lines of the softball diamond more than anything else. I was a fierce competitor, regardless of whether I was playing a knockout tournament with my travel team or a casual pick up game at school. I ran like hell to first base every time and usually found myself stealing second.
But here’s the thing: the distance to first base is only 60 feet.
Sure, I could outrun almost any throw to first base… but if I ever had to round the bag it was a different story. (Just kidding.) I’ve always been quick speed. Run like hell, get dirty, make it home. I’ve never had endurance. I’ve never been a runner.
No one was more surprised than me when I registered for the 2013 MetroPCS Dallas Half-Marathon back in August. I needed something to motivate me through the next five months before I started in the Peace Corps, and this seemed like a good solution. At the time I had never run longer than three miles.
Over the next four months I ran…and ran…and ran. This morning I was supposed to run my first half marathon.
But it was cancelled.
On Thursday, north Texas was hit by a winter storm that blanketed the region in snow and several inches of ice. My town was turned into an ice skating rink overnight (that’s not a joke either — people have actually been ice skating on the streets). And since I live in north Texas, that means we don’t have any sand or salt to lay down, or snow plows to clear the roads. The Dallas Marathon was cancelled for fear of safety concerns for runners and those travelling in for the event, and it won’t be rescheduled. My heart sank when I received the news. Don’t get me wrong, there was no way I was excited about the potential race conditions. As if running 13.1 miles wasn’t hard enough, let’s just throw in 30 degree weather and having to dodge pockets of ice. No thanks.
It’d be easy to think that all of my hard work was for nothing — but I know that isn’t true .Even though I don’t get to run my first half marathon today, I know that I’ve learned so much about myself during the training leading up to this point. When I first started training I was sore after a three mile run. When I first started training, five miles was a “long” run. Somewhere along the way those mileages increased and I found myself looking forward to my runs. And then craving them. My body, and my mind, needed them. I learned that I can be a runner.
During my training I learned that running isn’t just about your physical strength. In fact, it is my mental state that can make or break my run. When I believed in myself I could run several miles longer than I planned, and when I was having a tough time sometimes another 60 feet seemed impossible.
But I never quit. After running dozens upon dozens of miles, I learned that I can push myself through anything. And something simple like a cancelled race isn’t going to change that.
So, I didn’t get to run my first half marathon this morning. So what? Next year I’m going to run one in Morocco instead.
In the meantime, I decided I need a new goal. I’m going to run [at least] one mile a day until I leave for the Peace Corps on January 13. That’s 36 days. Let’s go!