"It’s only really a 5k with a 10-mile warm-up…"

I’ve been waiting all day to crawl into bed and tell you this story. Because this story is a good one. It’s a story I’ve been writing for months now. It’s a story of pain and endurance and joy and laughter and strength.  It’s a story for the girl who needs to know she’s capable of more than that little voice keeps telling her she is. It’s a story for the girl who never [in a million years] could believe her legs could carry her 13 miles. It’s just as much your story, as it is mine. So soak it in, doll, this one’s for you.

Last week, I dreamt of sleeping through my first half marathon [spoiler alert: that actually happened this weekend!], getting to the start line as everyone else was crossing the finish, and begging them to let me run anyway. I’m pretty sure they just kind of laughed and told me, “better luck next year.” I woke up in a cold sweat, not really believing that all of my hard work and the miles I’d logged through training could so easily be forgotten, dismissed like they never even happened in the first place. Just because I slept too late. Negativity hit me like a brick wall. “I should have set set another alarm. I should have gotten more sleep. I should have been more prepared. Should have, could have, would have…”  Thank the dear Lord, it was only a nightmare. Could you even imagine?

If you follow me on social media, you know I posted this picture around 9:45am on Sunday morning.

Post race euphoria.

So many endorphins.

Pure joy.

And that’s no lie. That picture pretty much sums up everything I felt in that moment. Unstoppable, on top of the world, like I was so much stronger than I ever thought I could be. Like I just ran a fricken’ half marathon. I couldn’t even really tell you what else I was feeling just then. It all just seemed so surreal. I wanted to jump and scream and belt my music at the top of my lungs. But I also couldn’t really breathe, so that may have been a bad idea. I couldn’t stop smiling. Lifting my hands and thinking about what miracle of life let me run the furthest I’ve ever run before. Let me push myself and my body more than I ever thought possible. Feeling so grateful for my health, my endurance.

But regardless of how incredible I felt in that moment, I can’t deny that there were moments during those few hours that were tough. Really, really tough. The not-so-pretty stuff that doesn’t get documented on Instagram and can’t be fixed with a fancy filter or a clever caption. The stuff that you don’t tell people when they ask, “HOW DID IT GO?” The stuff you keep re-playing over and over in your head when you think about what you could have done better. What if I… trained harder? Ran more? Ran faster? Pushed myself more? Fueled better? Prepared better?

For miles, my legs hurt. My body hurt. The voice in my head turned into nothing short of a SHOUT. Telling me I wasn’t tough enough. Didn’t have it in me.

But, boy, was she wrong.

Because I did it.

And regardless of what I could have, should have, would have done differently….

I finished.

And if you ask me [in a few days when I can walk like a normal person again], I just might tell you that it was the best experience of my entire life.



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