Monday, September 22, 2008
Today I decided to go for a walk during my one free hour. It's a beautiful day, and I could definitely feel the hint of Fall. Very nice indeed, since Fall is my absolute fave time of year. It always reminds me of football, walking across the Quad at UA and watching leaves dancing about from the wind.
While I was on my walk, I was reminded of some of the thoughts I always have when I'm out enjoying a bit of exercise and pretty weather...I tend to always enjoy it so much, that I begin concocting grand plans to make long walks a habit. I start imagining a life filled with long, glorious walks. Not only will I get exercise, but I can immerse myself in God's lovely creation. Then I start thinking that if I go for enough long walks, well then I should just go ahead and train to walk a half marathon! I tend to become a bit grandiose in my thought process, and I can really get carried away. Well today I noticed this beginning to happen, so I decided I would self-analyze a bit and try to figure out why I have a hard time following through on some of my goals. No harm there, right? Heh.
I've participated in 2 half marathons to date, the latest one being in April 2007. I didn't participate this last year, because I just couldn't see myself being able/willing to devote that much time to training. Having two young children makes it challenging to go for LONG walks without incorporating a babysitter. My parents are local, but I feel guilty asking them every Saturday to babysit for hours on end while I go for a walk (they have a life, too). Jamie has joined me in both half marathons, and we really enjoy it. Both walks we did were at the Country Music Marathon/half marathon in Nashville, TN. Neither of us care for country music much, but along the race route they have lots of bands playing, not all of them country. The route leads one through the music district of town, so it's pretty neat going by all of the recording places and such. Anyway, it's a great atmosphere and it really helps the 13.1 go by fast. Today I was thinking back to the last half marathon we did in Nashville, and I remember that around mile 11-12 we saw a woman who had obviously been involved in a tragedy that resulted in the loss of her legs. She had prosthetics on, and she RAN past us. She was in the full marathon! Amazing in and of itself.
So here's how a typical (of the 2 I've done) half marathon walk goes for me: we get up at the crack of dawn to drive to a big stadium so we can stand in line for about 30 minutes. We get aboard a bus that will take us to the start line for the race. We arrive in the vicinity of the starting line (about a mile away), and meander through the throngs of people (I think there are generally around 30,000 in the race, not to mention vendors, family there to cheer on the racers, etc)who are also making their way to the start line. We find our corral (usually in the back b/c we are walkers) and we stand around for approximately one hour for our corral to get to the start line (they start the race in waves at this event). By the time we actually REACH the STARTING line, I've been on my feet for about 2-3 hours already! Then I get to walk 13.1 miles. Okay, so off we go and we're very excited to finally start. Once I get to about mile 1, I'm in my pace and going pretty good. About mile 5 is when the hills start...ouch. By mile 8, I've got a blister. By mile 11, I'm starting to hit my wall, but by the grace of God, my feet just keep moving and it's mostly downhill from there, so I'm about to limp to the finish line. It hurts. Both years, I've commented that I'm so happy I'm only walking the half marathon and not the full!!
Anyhow, this last time, we saw this lady who ran past us, and I remember commenting to Jamie, "If that lady can RUN a FULL marathon, surely I can run a little bit of a half marathon! I'm going to train better next time, and try to run a little." Okay, so there's my goal and I ended up not even participating the next year. I did start to run a little, though. However, I was quickly reminded that I've never actually enjoyed running. It doesn't feel natural to me, and it never has. I much prefer to walk. But, my point was that I could get across the finish line quicker if I alternated running/walking. If a lady with no feet can do it, why can't I?
Well, this morning I realized that maybe she has something that I don't. First of all, she probably has some form of motivation that I've not yet tapped into. Secondly, she has a level of perserverence that I don't have. I've never been faced with the reality that I may never walk again. Therefore, I haven't been forced or even wanted to tap into the part of me that absolutely needs to overcome an obstacle such as not being able to walk. I'm very lucky, but she is also lucky because she has risen above her tragedy and turned it into triumph. Of course, all of this is "assuming and supposing" part of her life, but I'm just putting it out there.
So, instead of feeling guilty and beating myself up for not meeting my goals (even if they were made somewhat flippantly), I'm going to just do what I feel comfortable doing. If that means I get out and walk a few miles every day, every week, or every month, then so be it. I will be okay with this.
I don't know when my next quest for the 13.1 will be, but for now I'll enjoy the few miles I get here and there. :)