For the past couple of months, I had been practicing for an 8k (5 mile) walk. My best time was 3 hours and that was for 4.4 miles. I was afraid I couldn’t do it, I would be the last one in, all the people would laugh at me or be mean to me because I was fat and slow and they would be mad because the party doesn’t start until the last person arrives.
I gave myself every single excuse I could think of for not doing the race. The only reason I finally did it was because I had posted it all over Facebooka and I didn’t want my friends and family to know I was a quitter. My husband’s job was simple - tell anyone who was mean and hateful to me (except me of course!) to SHUT UP!
The day of the race was a beautiful day and I was still dreading doing this. The same voices made the same comments, only out loud where I could really hear them. Why was I even doing this? What did I have to prove? Who cared if I did this? My money had already been received as a race fee, so the charity had already benefitted, right? I didn’t need to do this. I was too overweight, too out of shape, I looked ugly in the race shirt, I was walking and everyone else would be running, what if I couldn’t finish, what if something happened to me and they had to come get me, what if I got lost, what if I saw a snake, what if………..
Well, my wonderful husband’s voice was louder than my internal voices and I knew HE beleived in me and was so proud of me that I was going to try to do this. With that in mind, I took my place at the back of the pack, waited for the whistle and took off like a herd of snails! I started out last and stayed that way all the way to the finish line. I knew the only way for me to finish was to keep a steady pace all the way through and then bump it up when (if) I finished.
THe good thing about being the very last person to cross the finish line is that you have the opportunity to encourage every single person who is coming back towards the finish line while you are still headed to the turn around point. In my case, this meant 149 people I could encourage (and be encouraged by!). My wonderful husband met me at the half way loop and walked up the small hill and made the turnaround with me, kissed me and walked back through the field to wait for me at the finish line.
One of the volunteers’ kids had a “parade horn” and he was blowing it for all he was worth (where do I get one of those????). I was the only one to get the “personal marching band”, and it made me feel like royalty. I mean, other than the Queen and the President, who gets their own private marching band? Me, that’s who!!!!!!
The volunteers had started picking up the cones and were following me, accompanied by the parade horn. Each time I heard them encourage me and each time I heard the parade horn, I felt like I really could do this! Just before the finish line, I increased the volume in my MP3 player and listened to “Stronger” by Adele. The last of the volunteers came out to escort me to the finish line and by then, I was feeling so wonderful, that I actually RAN (reread that = RAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) the last 50 feet or so. Everyone clapped and cheered, the personal marching band played really loud and they announced my “winning” time over the loudspeaker - just like I was the winner of the race!
Not even the first time I heard “you are cancer free” did I feel so overwhelmed and amazed and wonderful! I felt like the most powerful person on the planet! I actually had a runner’s “high” and it was amazing! For the past 24 hours, I have been telling myself how proud I am of me - something I rarely tell myself, even though I do amazing things often.
The voices were completely WRONG! I could and did finish the 8k AND I did it in 2 hours 13 minutes, much shorter time than my “last one over the finish line in 3 hours” secondary goal (my first goal was just to finish the whole thing!).
Next stop: the very steep UPHILL 5k (and then the 10k the following year if not sooner!). I am so proud of me!