Column - Positive attitude wins over self-pity, self-doubtWith my arms flailing high in the air, fists shaking in that “I did it!” motion – like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky when he climbed that mammoth mountain of steps – I crossed the finish line of my first 10K race.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
With my arms flailing high in the air, fists shaking in that “I did it!” motion – like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky when he climbed that mammoth mountain of steps – I crossed the finish line of my first 10K race.
Yes, my first 10K – 6.2 miles.
To most runners, or at least to those whom are avid at the sport or whom I consider to be “professional,” a 10K is probably nothing. It’s part of their daily routine, like brushing their teeth. For them, it’s nothing more than a hop, skip and a jump.
To me, the one who can barely eke out a 5K – 3.1 miles – this race was my marathon. It was my moment. My glory. And I plan to soak in it for quite awhile.
I did it. I actually did it. I ran 6.2 miles without stopping, without walking to catch my breath.
For me, it was no small feat.
A couple of weeks ago, after participating in my eighth 5K this year, I made the decision to give up running. It wasn’t working. I couldn’t breathe, I was having pain on my left side and to be honest, I wasn’t improving – well, as much as I thought I should.
So, I was going to throw in the towel. And accept the fact that I wasn’t a runner and I wasn’t ever going to become a runner. Because in my mind, not necessarily in my heart, I was clearly anything but a runner.
All that changed after I received encouragement from those who matter most. And…once I decided that it was time to stop with the self-pity, self-doubt and negativity. In addition, I came to terms with the fact that my husband can outrun me. But hey, I am OK with it – now.
When the gun went off at the start of last Saturday’s 10K race in Fargo, North Dakota, I cranked up my tunes, looked straight ahead and starting running, one foot in front of the other, arms pumping; first the left, then the right.
I chugged my way to mile one, then mile two and then to miles three and four. Besides the up-tempo, perfectly rhythmed music I was listening to, I could also hear myself, as odd as that may sound. Yes, I was talking to myself – the entire way.
“You can do this.” “You’ve got this.” “You’re doing it.”
Over and over, I kept repeating those words. I had to stay positive, I had to keep myself motivated.
It was going well. I still felt pretty good and I was closing in on the five-mile mark. But just before I reached it, I could feel myself slowing down. Not a lot, but enough to notice. However, I was OK with it as long as I kept running and didn’t slow to a walk.
Then, it happened. I got the motivation I needed to keep going for the rest of the race. The motivation to keep moving, to keep running, one foot in front of the other – goose bumps up and down my legs and my arms with a grin that stretched from ear to ear.
It started when a fellow racer said, “Hey, are you the blog lady?”
Seriously? Someone knew me? Someone recognized me? OK, it may have helped that I was wearing my “Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl” T-shirt. But still, she asked me. She approached me.
I replied, “Yes! Yes, I am.”
Because I was still so shocked over the recognition, I don’t remember her exact words, but the runner told me, “Way to go!” and then said, “You can do it!”
And she was right. I could. And I did.
And as I crossed that finish line, my husband waiting for me with a broad smile spread across his face, the emotions got the best of me and I couldn’t help it, I cried.
I cried tears of joy, accomplishment, triumph and relief.
I guess I am a runner after all.
“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.