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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Princess Half Marathon, Part 1- In Which I Almost don't Run

It was 7:00 on March 6th, the night before the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I was sitting in my parents’ hotel room, where we’d just eaten dinner. I was physically and mentally tired, having been working at the Expo all day.

I was also desperately trying to keep negative thoughts out of my head. Like my run last weekend that was supposed to be 6 miles, but ended up being 4- and ended with me in tears, and took just as long as if I’d run 6. Or my last run before the race, which should have been a fun, relaxing 3-miler. That run had started out fine, until my brain kicked in, told me I couldn’t run that fast, and suddenly my legs wouldn’t go. No. I definitely didn’t want to think about that…too late.

I’ve never been stressed before a race. Races, and the running environment, make up most of my childhood. But now I had pre-race jitters like never before.

“I can’t do it.” I threw my arms up in the air. “I just can’t. I don’t want to run anymore.”

My Mom, whom I had talked into running with me, simply shrugged. “If its not going to be fun for you, then no, you shouldn’t do it.”

I stood still for a moment, quietly evaluating myself, and trying not to cry. I had worked hard for this. I wanted this. Didn’t I? I wasn’t so sure anymore. But I shook my head, both a to reject my earlier words and, if it was possible, to shake out the feelings of self-doubt that now filled it. “No,” I said. “I’ll do it. I think.”

Just before leaving for my own room, my phone buzzed. I pulled it out of my purse angrily, just waiting for it to be a message that would pushed me over the edge. It wasn’t. It was Direct Message via Twitter. The message was from Robin, a fellow blogger I had finally met in person earlier that day. Robin had been struggling with her decision not to run after getting sick interrupted her training. But she had come to the expo, given me a safety pin with a jewelry charm on it for my bib number, and gone out to lunch with some other bloggers (I couldn’t attend because I was working). I opened the message.

“Was peer pressured into an early a.m. 13.1 walk while at dinner... Will look for you. I'm in corral C but will move back some. Have fun!”.

I confess, it took me a moment to process. An early 13.1 walk? Isn’t 13.1 a half-marathon? Oh!

Robin, even though she hadn’t been able to train like she’d planned, was going to go out there and do the race- even if she had to walk it.

I took a deep breath, and released it, trying to release my negative thoughts at the same time. How could I let this go? How could I justify not finishing what I had started? The answer was simple. I couldn’t.

I returned to my hotel room, called for a 3 a.m. wake-up call (shudder), checked that my D-tag was on my shoe, my number was on my shirt, and all my clothes were laid out for the run.

Then I got into bed and fell asleep, praying for peace about whatever the next day might bring. 

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