For the beginning of this story, click here.
I couldn't quite bring myself to physically walk up to a volunteer and talk about my options; they would think I was a wimp, or a hypochondriac. I was none of these things. I was a runner. Lots of runners run through sickness. Lots of runners run through snowstorms, and sleet and hail. I just didn't know if I wanted to be like "lots of runners". I was battling over my dilemma all the way up until the gun sounded and we all started shuffling through the start line. Dammit. I guess I was running.
The first mile of any run is a hard one - my body hasn't quite found it's rhythm yet, but by mile 2 and 3 when my body hadn't found it's rhythm, simply refused to find a rhythm, all I wanted to do was pull over and cry. My body vacillated between nausea and dizziness.
Mile 5 was loonnngggg. I just kept thinking that had I opted out of the half marathon and chosen the 5 mile run (like any rational human being) I would be done. Sitting on the grass enjoying a Gatorade instead of dreading another 8.1 miles.
Everything finally came together at mile 7. My "goo" from mile 6 had taken effect and given me a burst of energy. My body finally was in a rhythm and "Lose Yourself" by Eminem was cranking on my ipod. Life was great. Mile 7 was what I love about running. Where you can't help but smile because everything is right in the world.
Unfortunately, my high was short-lived. The "goo" that had given me a wonderful mile was now retching my stomach into pieces. A few minutes past mile 8, I barely made it off the road into the bushes to hurl a combination of goo, Gatorade, water, and banana. Cripes, this was ugly.
I came back onto the road with tears in my eyes. There was still 5 miles to go. The distance that I could've run in the first place. The distance I should've run in the first place. I was done. Exhausted. Broken. The problem is you can't quit after 8 miles. You just can't. At least, I can't. I asked about 10 people for a piece of gum - no dice. I realized I was going to have to make peace with the horrid taste in my mouth. You can do just about anything for 5 miles, I decided.
The remaining 5 miles of the race are extremely blurry. I hunkered down, zoned out and ran. I tried not to think about the taste in my mouth. I tried to focus only on my breath and the movement of my body. No words can express the emotion I felt when the finish line came into sight. The finish line is always an emotional place, but this day it took on a whole new meaning. It brought back a rush of memories - memories of my first marathon, memories of my college graduation, memories of climbing a 18,500 foot high peak in Nepal, memories of starting my own business...all of these memories rushed through me and overwhelmed me. In the midst of every one of these things, I had been unsure of myself. I wanted to quit. to walk away because it was "too hard". That finish line represented all of the "middles" in my life that had sucked, but I had persevered through to an end. That finish line, in a small way, represented everything hard in my life that I've accomplished. Perhaps that is why I continued to run that day...to remind myself that anything is possible if I set my mind to it. The one thing I do know is that I am continually amazed at what I can do when I ask it of myself.