I don't run fast. Sometimes I find myself wishing I'd been less defiant in middle and high school and actually tried running, instead of sneering and walking a 15 minute mile. I like to think about how fast I could've run if I'd tried running before birthing two kids. Like, maybe it's possible to run without feeling like your lady parts are going to fall off? I wonder what that's like.
Still, when I finished my first 5k and had enough left in me to really push across the finish line, I loved the feeling. That moment has surprised me at each race I've done, because I usually end up a run thinking, "I want to die. This is so dumb. Why do I run? My lungs hurt. I'm thirsty. My feet hurt. THIS IS DUMB." Yet somehow, I still reach down and find that push at the end. Sometimes I push faster than others, but I always push.
Normally when I run, I look like this.
Except that I don't normally run in sparkly skirts or with my name pinned to my shirt, but all the rest is the norm. I don't usually smile, either. This picture was taken somewhere between miles ten and eleven of the half and it's simply amazing that I was still moving forward, let alone faking a smile long enough for the photographer to take a picture. Aside from all of that, I think that's what I look like when I run. I never have those moments where both feet are off the ground, because I don't run fast enough for that. And also, I'm very uncoordinated, so I would probably trip and break my face. (And yes, I know. My running form is awful.)
So when I saw the picture of me crossing the finish line, I had to do a double take.
Hold on. Back foot in the air and a shadow under the front? I did it! Both feet off the ground. In the final tenth of a mile, I pushed up to what would've been a 7:54 mile if I'd maintained (which I think we all know would've resulted in my sudden death). I was so thankful to be done, but also so proud to finally, literally fly across the finish line.
Lately, my runs haven't been that good. I've had maybe one or two good runs since the half, otherwise they've all been struggled. I've felt a little burnt out and like I've lost my mojo. When I'm just not feeling it, I wonder why I keep running. Surely walking would be easier. So sometimes, I slow and walk. I think, How could I run most of 13.1 miles, yet feel my legs give out at 3 these days? It's not really my legs, though. It's more of my mind. I'm in a doubting myself phase--not the first time this has happened and surely not the last, but all I need to do to center and focus is look at this picture... and remember how it felt to briefly have both feet off the ground as I flew across the finish line.