Lao-tzu has told us that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
I took that step today. Quite literally. I ran my first 5k. I had told myself I was going to do this and do it to the best of my ability. I ran this race with a friend. I was open and honest with her from the get go. I told her that if she was faster, to go on ahead. To which she replicated the statement. I agreed. I set off on my journey. I wanted to see what I could do. This was of utmost importance to me. I needed to know what I was capable of. After all, running is one of my pleasures in life. I did this for me. I did this with no one cheering me on. Well, at least race side. I had many cheering me on from where they were. I'm going to stop this train of thought and go there for a second.
I have to say this, I am the most blessed woman in the world. Yes, I may have lost a husband and failed in marriage, but I have found the beauty of true friendship and gained the understanding of just how many people truly do care about me. That's the thing. When we are living life, day-by-day, following our routines, coming and going, we don't see the impact we have on others, then when we stop long enough, or in my case it came smacking me in the face with the proverbial frying pan, we can see just really how many people we have. How many beautiful, caring, thoughtful, inspiring, God-given people we have in our lives. I have so many. Again, I am overly blessed.
So my fan club, if you will, was there for me, in my heart, if not race side urging me to push myself one more step. I had just recently purchased for myself, in a complete momentary bout of selfishness, a Garmin Forerunner 110W. For you non-runners, this is a geek's high and a runner's dream. I'll let you google it. Yes, I know. So, there I was, somewheres in the middle of the running pack (approx. 400 runners) fiddling with my watch, getting ready to see just how fast I could really run and then, off we go. I finished the first mile, according to my watch at an average pace of 9:11. The timer said 9:20. Either way, I was pleased. Then I pushed harder. I felt I could. I wasn't winded. I can do this. No, I did do this.
The next mile I finished with a combined time of 19:40 according to the timer. My watch, I can't say. I forgot I was wearing it at this time. I was too focused on not giving in. I was going to beat this. I was going to not stop. I was going to conquer this. I had to. I had to do this for me. I know I am made of something. Everyone keeps telling me how strong of a person I am; this I am sure is in reference with my ability to get through the ick that has been my life. But this, this was a situation that I alone had the power to dominate. That the only thing it required was my sheer determination not to fail myself. I was not going to fail myself. I may be a lot of things, but I am not a quitter.
Then, I finished the race. I crossed that finish line. The time on the official clock - 28:21. I was elated. I had told myself that 30:00 was my time. That if I could do the 5k in a half hour I was on my way to accomplishing one of the many goals I had for myself. It took a bit later for the official times to come in. When I went to the table to get my place standing, not only was I shocked at my place, but also my official time. You see, what I failed to remember was that my time didn't start until I crossed the line and being further back in the pack, well yes, the race clock had started, but that wasn't my time. In fact, I not only beat the time I originally saw, I blew my initial goal out of the water. (Any runner can attest how mere seconds is a profound accomplishment.)
My time, for my first 5k of the season. The first one I've ran in years. The first one I've ran as a single woman. My time, the one I earned all by myself, for myself, because I was doing this for me - 27:48.8! Yes, I had tears in my eyes. Yes, I understand this is not a Boston marathon qualifying pace, but I did it people! I did it! I did it for myself. All on my own. No one pushing me. Just me. I'm going to take this moment to be proud of myself; I'm sorry if this offends someone. Now, I want to share with you that my goal for the end of the summer was to have a 5k time of 25:00. I'm still holding on to that. I still want to get there. 2:48 is still a lot of time to shave off. But, I'm not going to stop trying. I am still going to work on doing this for me.
So, this journey I'm on, the one that may or may not total a thousand miles, began with a first step - today. I'm going to keep taking them, one at a time, until I get myself to the place where I am content, then I'll try for more. After all, it's me I'm finding here people. Me. And this is where I chose to start.