On November 19, I ran my first 10K – the 2011 Marine Corps Base Hawaii Turkey Trot. I cannot tell you how terrified I was that the weather or my body would not cooperate, or how many times I wondered what ‘might’ get in the way of me doing this run, but I did it – all 6.2 miles – with my body and spirit moving me through each step, and my mind filled with thoughts of amazement at my own abilities (I mean really, I am still the girl who would NEVER run) and very real gratitude. Interestingly, my immediate inclination as I type this is to tell myself that some people run that distance every day so whoop-de-do, it’s not a big deal. But as I am always reminded to do, I will tell that little voice to shut up and celebrate my accomplishment, as we all need to do – always. This being the Thanksgiving holiday, I think it is a great time for a reminder to be thankful for the ability to move and breathe and run as these are indeed luxuries some are not afforded and we should never take them for granted. Now back to the trot…
The run started with an unexpected steep hill in the first mile and I ran that hill like it was a demon and I was God sending it back to hell. I fought it like crazy and made it up, but I dreaded the fact that I’d be going right back up this hill in mile 4, so I decided to take it easy. The course was 2 laps around an area of the base that was mostly flat, and I loved every second of it – just being out there in the elements (which were a little crazy that morning with the rain and wind) was rewarding and challenging. When I crossed the finish line at 1:09:27 (even after a mid-course potty stop), it felt surreal. I was still breathing easy (I think I finally found my stride) and I left feeling like it had been a dream. It was incredible.
Even though I like to run with music, I almost never remember the tunes. All of my senses are heightened – I take in the things I see, smell, feel, and I remember “hearing” my thoughts – the thought of disbelief that my body could do this, and the thought that just a few months ago, I could hardly run a half mile without stopping and running out of breath. Now, here I was, running mile after mile, almost effortlessly it seemed, feeling great and proud of myself all along the way. It was a testament to what people can do with self-discipline, motivation, and the desire to let your best self come to the surface.
As I prepare for my next challenge, the 13.1 Mile Wahine Diva Half Marathon on April 1, 2012, I will not forget the “small” victories or take for granted the tiny strides I make each day. It took hard work for this 36 year old mama to get off my butt and finish this 10K, and it will take more hard work to get to the half, but I will be ready and I will remember to give thanks for every run, big or small, along the way.
What are you most thankful for?