Today I achieved my physical goal for the year. I completed the University of the West Indies (UWI) annual half marathon, all 13 miles of it.
I left home at 4.00 a.m. to meet with the group at 4.30 a.m. As I walked to meet my group members, I met a woman who said that she was very nervous about the big race and that she hoped that she did well. We chatted, reminding each other that this was just a fun race, until we went our separate ways.
I met my group, warmed up with them, felt the general excitement of all the other runners as they too got ready for the start. Then we moved our way to the starting line and waited.
It was extremely exciting to stand in the dark, surrounded by other warm bodies, waiting for the race to start. The National Anthem was played and then there was a count down – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1- followed by a gunshot that made me jump and burst into laughter. And so it began. The start of the race and the end of the race were the best parts, but as a friend pointed out – the middle is where the real benefits are.
The marathon started in February 2014, for me, when I set a physical goal to compete the UWI Half Marathon. Since I was sharply aware of my physical limitations, I made the deliberate and difficult decision to join a running group. I am not a group person, but the group provided me with both the impetus to run and feed off the collective energy to run. It was challenging to be vulnerable and be seen by others in my weakness and it was great to be supported and encouraged as I got better in the training. I truly appreciated that group today when we made our way to the starting line.
I lost training time as I travelled several times for the year and in this last week I also missed some training days. There were times when I did not want to see the trainer because I found that he was too much in my face and I was pretty annoyed with him.
Today it all paid off, I ran the race and completed it . I know that next year I will be right there running that half-marathon.