Well, I've done it. I've actually completed the Parkersburg News and Sentinel's Half Marathon, all 13.1 miles of it and, channeling my innermost Gloria Gainer, I survived. Was it easy? Negative. Was it what I expected? Not nearly. Will I do it again? I'm going to wait until the swelling goes down in my ankles before I answer that question.
When I celebrated my 29th birthday at the beginning of April, I didn't have my sights set on the half. I was looking forward to the Beginner's Clinic but never dreamed of accepting the half marathon challenge. Now, as I sit with my medal around my neck, my knees packed in ice, and my feet soaking in hot water and Epsom Salt, I can honestly say, I was always the biggest obstacle standing in my way.
I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've heard the phrase 'attitude is everything.' I want to go on record as saying I hate this quote. I'm not saying it's untrue; it's not. The saying is incredibly accurate. I, however, was raised with Ian Maclaren's quote 'be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.' That's not to say that I ever really had an excuse, but I give people as much wiggle room as I'd hope to receive, and depending on the day, three miles can feel like a hard battle.
I am the most persuasive person I know. Of course, this may only apply to me. I can't attest to how convincing I am to anyone else. I can talk myself into or out of just about anything. I know what I need to hear to be successful. Unfortunately, I also know what I need to hear to quit and sometimes neglect to start altogether. Add to the persuasiveness an almost unshakable stubbornness and you have a dangerous combination. This combination doesn't always work out positively, but sometimes, it does.
During the half, I wanted to quit. I wanted to untie my shoes, go home, shower, and drown my sorrows in a box of milk duds. I didn't remember the course being so long, hilly, and sunny. But, every time I thought about slowing down, and I thought about it a lot, I remembered all I had to do to find myself on that course.
It's been my experience that my training is a lot like everyday life. There was and always will be a reason not to push myself. There's never going to be a right time for a big challenge, and change is rarely easy. But, after 10 weeks, hundreds of miles, gallons lost in sweat, and one half marathon, I know that my attitude and mental state is what determines my success, not the time it took me to cross the finish line.