This 31-day writing experience has been exactly that – an experience and the beginning of a journey that’s getting me back into writing. Some days felt like chewing-gum where I couldn’t even think of a general topic to write about. Thoughts like “does anyone really care?”, “this is stupid” or “I have nothing to write about” predominated on those days, but the fact that I somehow managed makes me very proud. I’ve learned a lot in the last 31 days, and look to carry this journey forward.
As with many things you start, it’s about prioritizing. Writing is a key priority to me, not just because it’s a passion, but I’m looking to improve and keep working on it. The suggestion for a topic today was “Finishing”… it was a marathon, not a sprint… Figuratively. Which fits beautifully since I had just run my first half marathon at the beginning of this year.
My next Half Marathon is coming up, and it requires so much effort, planning, getting over yourself and simply doing it while working toward a goal.
When I first started, it felt tedious – I hated running so much. No playlist or gratification at the end could improve it for me. Not even reciting a Domino’s menu. I trained almost religiously according to schedule: 3 running units, 2 strengthening units per week, while the running units varied between long-runs and timed sprints. I did my first 15k on a treadmill at the gym… and I thought I was going to pass out. I wanted to set that goal (to finish, not to pass out) just to see if I could do it, and if so, how.
It’s a tremendous mind game. After 5k, you still feel ok, it’s easy. The 7k mark was a bit tougher for me. The 10k was where I wanted to grab my bottle of Gatorade and just hit the showers. I continued on to 12k, cried a little bit, then I got over it, and finished the 15k. This was only one unit. The training continued for approximately 12 weeks. If you train for this, you naturally make time between your full-time job and all the other things you have going on your life, but you do it.
The Half Marathon was approaching and I was incredibly nervous. A month before, I got a cold and thought I had to start at zero. Like so often. But the body remembers. It’s the mind that you have to remind and push.
At the start line, I focused on the music in my ears, and when our corral moved out, I just ran. I trained according to my heart rate – always within a certain heart rate parameter. With the added nerves, excitement and respect for the distance, my heart rate was through the roof and I was desperate. The first hundred meters I thought I would just take it easy… even when the overweight runner, the guy in the wheelchair and someone’s grandfather passed me. I did feel a little uneasy, but then again… they put at least as much work into this race as I did. This is a race that’s purely against yourself, not anyone else.
After 5k, it became a race WITH myself. I stuck to the plan, to the heart rate (more or less), and cursed at the many hills in and around DTLA and Staples Center. Why does nobody talk about how many g*ddamn hills there actually are? It’s one big giant hill… no joke!
Passing the 10k mark felt great. I had the tracking activated on my phone, and saw that I had lots of supporters – most of all mom who was sitting up in bed at 4 am (time difference and all) and constantly sending me support. I’m so truly blessed to have a support network of family and friends that carry me as far as I have come. In a marathon situation, where it’s just you and your thoughts, this becomes even more evident.
The last 6k were the worst. They would not end. I couldn’t feel my legs, my knees gave out from the constant downhill sprints (after all, I thought I had to make up for the time I lost going uphill). Most people I passed were walking. It’s impossible – 21k cannot be this long.
They were. Then the finish line came into view. It actually didn’t because it was around a corner. And everyone sort of already got there, and the spectators were freezing. But they were there… cheering on everybody who was running – they didn’t even know me and clapped, yelled encouragements and made me go into the final sprint. Crossing the finish line was surreal. Tears were rolling down my face as all the effort I had put in over the last months had finally paid off and the pressure gave way to relief. I can rely on my body, on my support, and apparently, on the head I carry on my shoulders ;).
The gratification in writing is obviously not as intense, but it is apparent. I’m very happy that I stuck with it and got back into it. I won’t post every day, although I may write every day because it’s my passion.
I will train every day since the next Half Marathon is coming up… eventually followed by a Marathon (fingers crossed).
Thank you to those who have supported me, who have stopped by my blog, took the time to read what I have to say, left comments, liked and followed.
If I can encourage you to do something that you truly love, consider this it! Finishing something that you’ve worked hard for… be it at the job, at a sporting event, a personal project, whatever… it’s totally worth it if your heart is in it. You will know when you finish!
(#My500Words Day 31) – I did it :)