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A Question of Motive

So I’ve been thinking…Maybe I should train to run the Des Moines Half Marathon.

Every once in a while I’ll look up from my work and see the picture of me crossing the finish line at the Disney half. I remember what it felt like to finish that amazing challenge and part of me kind of longs to feel it again. I keep that picture,
along with several other race pictures (and one of Rocky Balboa)in my line of site at work. Whenever I’m feeling low, or frustrated, I glance up and see my favorite fictional hero…and myself. A similar underdog, I suppose.
Before last year, I never once wondered with excited curiosity what it would feel like to complete a half marathon. Before last year, I never even really knew what a 5K was, or how many there are around Des Moines alone! I never concerned myself much with physical fitness or planned physical activity. I accepted early on that I was not a runner, not an athlete, not a physical competitor. I quit track in junior high after about 2 practices; my lungs burning from running around the block. I quit basketball in junior high when all the other girls shot up around me and I quit growing taller. I quit volleyball in high school, when the competition got too hard and I accepted that I just wasn’t good enough to compete. (That and a certain boy had my attention by then.) Even when I was in sports though, I was never one of THOSE girls - the REAL athletes. For the most part, I was ok with it…but something changed over the past year and a half. Training for my first 5K with Amy, and actually learning to run, learning that I COULD run, changed me. Participating in 5K’s, I realized I didn’t have to be the fastest, the thinnest, or the best…I could compete and be good enough. And it felt really, really good. Perhaps I was holding myself back all these years; afraid to push myself for fear of failure or rejection, or the judging my paranoid brain insisted people were doing. It’s silly, I know…but I wonder how many other friends of mine would admit to the same feelings of inadequacy and insecurity when it comes to physical fitness. It’s a shame I let it happen to me for so long. In a way, I blame my own competitive nature. I’m sure my crazy desire to win and fear of failure kept me from even trying at all.
Considering the Des Moines Half Marathon scares me a bit as well. This time I’ll have no real ‘purpose’ for my run. No cause to raise money for. No inspiring husband to run in honor of. No reason to do it, really, other than because…well…I can. At first I thought that may not be motivation enough to see me through those long training runs on the hot, summer mornings – I mean, surely it won’t be the same as thinking of Matt and how he wishes he could join me…or the thousands of other families whose lives are turned upside down by stroke. I won’t have the knowledge that so many friends and family are supporting my run financially to help keep me putting one foot in front of the other. I won’t have the thrill of a fun-filled trip to Orlando to help fuel me in those final training runs. I won’t have anything…but me…well, and maybe a little Rocky.

Comments

dmvflunkee said…
Em,

I am going on my first "run" with a friend of mine tomorrow. She is going to "teach" me how to run. You have inspired me and I really want to learn to love to run. I have been sooo lazy the last 8 years since Ahnika was born. Excuse after excuse for why I continued to get fatter. I looked at myself in a full length mirror last weekend and realized how far I had let myself go. So I hope to be able to not only learn to run but learn to love to run. Wish me luck!!

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