Mile by mile. That’s how a lot of people say they get through their long runs. By simply focusing on the mile laid out before them. And losing themselves in the feeling of cold, sweet air on their forehead. Feet hitting the pavement. Arms bobbing up and down, keeping time with the music, sometimes hands lifted high above in a tiny fist pump. It’s all about the small victories for me.
A little victory with every mile.
The night before a long run, I always get anxious and extremely nervous. EIGHT MILES. HOW AM I EVER GOING TO RUN EIGHT MILES TOMORROW? How will I ever find the endurance and strength to carry me that far? I think of that feeling I’ll probably get around mile 3, the one that’ll try to convince me I’m nowhere near capable of running any further. Then, that voice at mile 4, the one that says, halfway done. Halfway done. Crap, only halfway done. Then, that incredible voice at mile 5, just when my leg muscles warm up and I finally find my rhythm.
And then, the voice of my Nike+ ambassador when I hit mile 8.
That’s the best one.
The one that will say, “that was your longest run ever” & “congrats on running more miles this week than last.” On the outside, I’ll shrug it off & smile. Wipe the sweat off my forehead. But goodness knows that on the inside, I’ll be screaming and dancing one heck of a victory dance.
And how do I know? How do I know that I’m even going to make it 8 entire miles tomorrow? Because I’m not going to be doing it alone. I have an army of people behind me. People like you, who so graciously and generously donated to my fundraising campaign for She’s the First. People who helped me reach my goal of funding two entire scholarships for female students in underprivileged countries in less than 48 hours. It’s just unbelievable. People who believe in me. Head and heart. All in.
I’ll also have the stories of those two girls. The girls who will finally get the education they deserve, just because someone cared enough about them to say yes. The girls who will change their communities. The girls who will start companies and be leaders and visionaries. Doctors and writers. Teachers. Girls that’ll help inspire a generation of women to stop taking no for an answer. To fight with the legs of a (half) marathon runner for a shot at an education. Those girls will be with me on my run tomorrow.
I can’t even wrap my head around how much support I’ll have during that run tomorrow.
And because of all that… yes, I know I’m going to finish. Those eight miles don’t stand a chance. I never said it’s going to be easy. In fact, it might be the toughest run yet. But I’ll finish. And you, yes you, will help me get there. And for that, I can’t say thank you enough.