Yesterday, I ran my first official half marathon. I was in the midwest visiting some friends and was talked into running. It didn’t take much convincing. I have some tremendously supportive friends. One has taken up true barefoot running and sports a kilt whilst doing so. He has completed the Leadville 50 miler. Another completed her third half marathon yesterday and has finished a 25k trail run. The third has completed several half and full marathons as well as the Bataan march. Each has motivated me in some way. Well, yesterday the four of us set out on a journey and all four of us finished. The course weaved through neighborhoods and many spectators lent their support cheering, clanging triangles and cow bells. Each lap I looked forward to the next group smiling and cheering. This kept up my motivation and kept a smile on my face as I pushed on. For the first four miles, I ran along side a guy juggling as he ran. Near mile ten, my hip flexors were twenty kinds of upset with me. We had a conversation and my hip flexors agreed to hang in there. With each turn of the course, runners continued to encourage one another. I had a small band maintaining pace with me at the last mile. I kept spreading the encouragement as we neared the finish. I met with my three friends at this point and it propelled me to cross that finish line. Motivation kept me going. I considered stopping to walk during the event however, belief and faith as well as hope carried me and lifted me. At the finish, a man placed a medal around my neck. It occurred to me that I really did complete the run. What I really wanted was the reflective space blanket. I have watched so many runners over the years walk around with the silver colored blankets and that’s what I wanted. I was not hypothermic. It just brought a sense of accomplishment. I stretched as I promised my hip flexors I would do. Then I set out and linked up with each of my friends on various portions of the course. I have lived in Iraq and in Afghanistan. I have spent a fair amount of time having rockets, mortars, and road side bombs disrupting my days. Well, yesterday I did not have that. Yesterday, my only challenge was myself.
Today, I feel like a zombie and will continue to stretch. Bits and pieces of my body I’ve never known to exist have spoken up and voiced their complaints. I am using this as an opportunity to continue toward my goal of competing in a triathlon in 2013. Don’t tell those achey bits and pieces that very soon I will be back at it, barefoot.