When I train for a race, no matter the distance, no matter if it is a road race, a relay, a fun run, a triathlon my thoughts, my goals, my effort and my training is focused on one thing: The Finish Line. I train to cross the finish line. I spend weeks upon weeks mentally and physically preparing myself to get to that finish line. The doubt, the questions, the what if’s about my life, my ability, myself are left on the road during my training, it’s where I gain the strength, the solitude, the courage and the confidence to cross the finish line.
The finish line that beautiful finish line.
It brings so much. It brings the closure of weeks of training.
I love knowing that during a race, as mile after mile gets checked off that I am getting closer and closer to that finish line. When I can actually see the finish line with my own two eyes, seeing the clock running rapidly, the numbers moving swiftly, realizing that it is all within my reach I love kicking it up a notch, driving my legs as fast as I can to cross that finish line, even when there is nothing (and that happens!) left in the tank, I always try my hardest to get to that finish line as fast as I can.
The finish line that beautiful finish line.
It brings so much. It brings the love and support of your family and friends.
As soon as my feet sail over the finish line, I know at that precise moment that it doesn’t really matter if I set a PR or if I bonked, all that matters is that I crossed that finish line. The feeling I have is euphoric, it’s a feeling that NEVER gets old, and one that I continually chase as I sign up for race after race. From the curls that sit on-top of my head to my mangled toes my entire body is filled with the satisfaction of completing something I set out to do with all my heart, soul and mind.
And when the cool touch of that finishers medal is wrapped around my sweat drenched neck I know that the glory of finishing is all mine. I wear the glory of that medal on my face, in my heart, on my sleeve because the sweat, fears, insecurities, anxiety, all my blah’s about life, including the many tears of training are behind, left on the course as I magically cross that finish line. That medal symbolizes that life is good.
The finish line that beautiful finish line. It brings so much.
It brings, perhaps naïve, the thought that everything in life will be A-OKAY.
This past Sunday as I crossed the finish line of my seventh half marathon I felt those feelings. I didn’t PR. But I gave it my all. The satisfaction of knowing that I was both physically and mentally strong was intoxicating for almost a full 24 hours – that feeling came to a screeching halt the moment I learned about the tragic events that occurred at the Boston Marathon.
I was and I believe I still am in a state of complete disbelief. That very morning of the Boston Marathon I made a conscious decision to sit firmly on the couch and watch these amazing athlete’s compete. This is my Oscars, my Superbowl, my Grammy Awards.
As I watched the marathon unfold I had a feeling of strength, of unity, of “WOW! I just ran 13.1 miles and these amazing athletes are doing twice the work in less time than I ran those 13.1 miles!” I tweeted. I Facebook-ed. I took part in this iconic event in any way that I could, albeit small, I even mumbled to myself that I must ask my sister if she would volunteer next year at Boston as it would be the closet I could ever get to that race.
The finish line that beautiful finish line. It never happened for so many.
On Monday that finish line brought tears, tragedy, sorrow, hate, death, sadness.
And for that I am sad. I am angry. I am confused. My beautiful running community has been marred. I am sad for those that ran Boston, I am sad for those that attended, I am sad for the families that lost loved ones, spectators that lost their limbs, for all those that were affected by this horrific event – I am angry that something so violent and tragic happened at something so big, so beautiful, so amazing.
I know that the running community is a strong breed (we sign up to run for one, two, three, four, five hours – heck even overnight relays!) that supports each other from whatever walks of life, shape, sizes, abilities; I know our Country is strong. I know that Boston is wicked strong. This cowardly act may knock us down for a bit, set us back a step but we will prevail.
That finish line that beautiful finish line.The next time we cross over it, we will be stronger. That finish line that beautiful finish line.
My first half marathon!