Saturday, June 4, 2011

run for your life!

I miss you. I've been MIA because life is just a huge ball of busy. Yuck. Sorry for my absence, but I'm back. Oh, joy.

Unfortunately for some, this post is about running (gotta work off those bowls (yes, plural) of ice cream somehow)...if you're looking for sugary sweet goodness, feel free to bow out until the next post. I'll forgive you.

On May 1st, I woke up around 3:30am (it's just plain wrong, I know), threw back a pot of coffee, munched on some toast and peanut butter and headed out the door to run the Orange County Half Marathon!

This was my second half marathon and I was AMPED (wish you could hear me say that word in my best burly man voice)! Ever since I ran my first half-marathon, I had been counting down the days until my next one..but I was a bit nervous.
I promise I'm running and not marching as it appears in this picture.

I won 3rd place in that first half-marathon with a time of 1:55, and my goal was to finish this race in 1:45. Now, here's why that's a bit of a rraaaaaaaaraaareach (rev run anyone?):

  • I haven't really been training. If you count spotty 3-6 mile runs and two 10-milers as training then we're golden.
  • Cutting 10 minutes off a time isn't normal.
  • I've been eating sugar like America's sugar production may be in peril.
  • Humans weren't made to wake up at 3:30am.

The great theologian, Ricky Bobby, once said, "If you're not first, you're last," and I really didn't want to be last, but I sure as heck knew I wouldn't be first. Oh, the dilemma.

I started off the race pretty fast and felt great for the first five miles. The race support was great, and I successfully drank water/gatorade at the aide stations and managed to not spill it all over myself. If I was to be honest, I find an odd satisfaction in throwing the cup down on the ground as I'm running when I'm done with it. Oh, the joys of littering.

The course was gorgeous (we ran from Fashion Island to the OC Fairgrounds), and the millionaires came out from their incredible houses to cheer us on in their gold-encrusted robes. How sweet. I'm kidding about the robes...but you get the picture. At one point, I asked a random lady what pace we were running at because she had a Garmin (I want one so bad! ps my bday is coming up! hint hint.), and she said 7:15...YOWZA! 7:15 min miles? I said boom-shaka-laka, received a strange look and kept pushing.

When I saw the mile 7 marker I decided running this thing was the worst decision I could have ever made. I wanted to be eating donuts, drinking coffee and relaxing...I was tired. Then I decided that was lame. I forged ahead and pushed as hard as I could. Bonafide badass.

Delusional smile.                                  

Toward mile 9 I started to feel discouraged. People were starting to pass me and the competitive Megan freaked out. I had 4.1 miles to go and my legs felt like sand bags. It was at that moment that I reminded myself I was doing this race because I LOVE TO RUN and I am not competing against a single runner out there. I was doing it for myself and whatever time I got would be a success because at least my sugar-fueled body was out there giving it my all. From that point on, I didn't think about my time, my pace or anyone else...just ran a pace that felt right to me.

As I approached the finish line, I saw the big time clock and couldn't believe my eyes...1:41!!!! What?!?! I freaked out as I crossed the line and then heard Brandon calling my name! I was in a state of exhaustion and pure shock. I took 14 minutes off my time people!!

Crossing the finish line.
Here's the lesson I took away from this race: Child, what are you doing worrying about other people? If you could for one moment take your eyes away from others and how you compare to them, you will have better focus and clarity in your own life. The moment you choose to focus on your own situation...your own pace...your own problems...your own short-comings...your own struggles....your own strengths...your own the moment that you begin to truly live. It seems natural to continuously be focused on how fast you are traveling compared to others (how much money you have in comparison to them, how pretty you are compared to them, how strong your relationships are compared to theirs, etc.), but it is the kiss of death. You will surprise yourself at how much you get done, how successful you are, how healthy you become, when you quit staring at other people and begin to take a good, long, hard look in the mirror...only to see the beauty..the strength...the glory living inside of YOU.

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