Last year at this time, Princess Alana and I had just laced up and toed the line at our first race ever. It was a local 5K and we were nervous, excited, elated, anxious and ready to see what a race environment felt like. It was our first race en route to the Castle for the Princess Half-Marathon. We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know much about this new world we were slowly discovering.
Regardless, we jumped in and ran our hearts out. We met our goals. We finished wanting more. And we were inspired to keep running. While we ran the 5K, many runners were tackling the half-marathon which was run at the same time. We knew we were running towards that distance with our goal race…but it was all about baby steps. One race at a time.
That day, we weren’t thinking beyond the 5K. We saw the half-marathon runners, but tried not to look too closely so as not to pysche ourselves out! We saw the sign marking the turn-off for those who would have to keep going another 16K before they would cross the finish line behind us. It was difficult to even wrap our heads around running that kind of distance all at once. And yet, the Castle beckoned!
Fast forward a year and the same race weekend rolled around. We didn’t run the race this year as we are currently in training for our second half-marathon (now less than a month away…yikes!). As I set out for my 18K training run yesterday, I must admit that I contemplated jumping into the half-marathon instead. For an extra 3K, I’d get a medal, right? And we all know how I feel about medals!
Ultimately, it was a passing thought – I was not actually up for shelling out $70 for a medal or trying to keep up with the fierce pack of Kingston Road Runners who would likely inspire me to run well beyond my training pace which could spell certain doom for my now chronically injured foot, and ultimately my next half-marathon. But just the realization that I could jump into this half-marathon at a moment’s notice, without worrying about passing out on the race course midway, was pretty darn satisfying. We’ve come a long way over this past year…as you can see by my Wall of Bling!
A year after running that first race in awe of the half-marathoners, we are half-marathoners ourselves. And here we are: in the thick of half-marathon training again. The runs are long. They are not easy. They are sometimes downright daunting. But we run them anyway. We make the time to get it done, knowing that this process never takes more than it gives back. It hasn’t been easy getting from that first race, lacing up as newbies, to this point. Our journey has been full of ups and downs and detours. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be.
Either way, next month we’ll be rewarded with chocolate, firefighters and a finisher’s necklace at the Toronto Women’s Half-Marathon. These perks are great motivators! But most of all, we’ll be able to say we did it. Not once, but twice and with plans to keep on running. And somehow, although the challenges get bigger (Glass Slipper Challenge, anyone? Yes please!), it doesn’t feel so scary anymore. Because although we stumbled into this new world, unsure of what it would bring, there’s nowhere else we’d rather be. This crazy world now feels like home.
Happy Runniversary, Princess Alana – thanks for taking this incredible journey with me!