Monday, April 30, 2018

This Weekend I...

 ...completed the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon.

This is the second time I've completed this race; the first was in 2009 when I was nearly a decade younger. That half marathon experience was...  miserable.  Yes, I'll go ahead and say it - it was down right miserable. You see, my quest to complete the 13.1 mile race actually started in January of the previous year and the 16 months between the start and completion of my quest was plagued with injuries and obstacles and frustration galore.  What started out as a fun, personal challenge turned into an all-encompassing, all-consuming obsession.  Plantar fasciitis be damned!  Shin splints be damned!  Soft tissue damage/whiplash from an unrelated accident be damned!  Come hell or high water, I was going to cross that damn finish line.

And I did...  in pain and in tears - tears of pain, tears of joy, and tears of relief that the whole ordeal was finally over.  

When asked in the following days when I planned to do my next half marathon my reply was, "Never," and for nearly 9 years, I meant it. 

That all changed about a year ago when a good friend, a breast cancer survivor, asked me to do the KDF miniMarathon with her and raise some money for Hope Scarves in the process.  How in the world could I say no?

So, on Saturday I found myself doing something I said I'd never do again, something I didn't enjoy the first time and don't have good memories of.

But, I'm glad to say that my overall miniMarathon experience this time was much different and I think it can be attributed to many factors - me being in better shape, having better luck, dealing with fewer obstacles, and having a different mindset towards the experience.  Instead of obsessively focusing on the attainment of the goal, I chose to focus on enjoying the experience.  All I could think about back in 2009 was crossing the finish line - Nothing. Else. Mattered.  This time, since beginning my training in late January, I have purposely focused on enjoying every step of the journey to the finish line.  

I had a great winter and spring preparing for this race.  I enjoyed all the hours I spent in my beloved park watching the woods slowly wake from its long winter slumber and usher in the beautiful, fresh colors of spring.  I enjoyed all the audiobooks I listened to while increasing my mileage each week.  

On the day of the race, I was so thankful that I was able to do something that required so much endurance in the first place.  During those 3 1/2 hours Saturday morning, as I walked through the downtown area, historic old Louisville, through the campus of U of L, and through the infield of Churchill Downs, I enjoyed the warm sun, the cool breeze, and the abundant people watching all around me.  When I crossed the finish line, I accomplished my goal of finishing injury free and with a smile of gratitude on my face.

To sum up what I learned through this experience, I think Oprah said it best:

I hope this finds you having a great Monday!  Thanks for stopping by!


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