Sweaty. Muddy. Happy.
Those are just a few surface adjectives to describe how I was feeling after I crossed the finish line at my first half marathon. The number of emotions I felt through the ups and downs (literally, this trail had many hills) of the course however, were countless.
I can't define how many times I almost broke down, but the mental barriers I had to push through felt like a bigger accomplishment than crossing the finish line. Physical challenges are one thing. The body can do amazing things when adrenaline is pumping. Mentally, I was a mess at times. Looking back, it's almost comical how upset I got. The thoughts racing through my mind were all negative self talk and blame. My airy confidence was suddenly shattered when I started thinking about how I didn't work enough hills into my training, how I should have trained longer and how pissed off I was that I didn't stop for water at the last aid station. It was a downward spiral of judgement and irritation. I blamed myself, I blamed Jared and these angry red thoughts just kept surfacing.
I tried focusing on my breathing (which was completely erratic on the uphill), than switched to mantra and finally just started praying. I told Jared I loved him and thanked him for running by my side. I asked him to tell me stories so I could focus on something other than how much longer I had to run. I thanked the Universe for keeping the rain at bay. I centered in on the fact that I had written down a goal and I was accomplishing it... and that felt pretty damn good. I kept thinking about how delicious beer would taste with a big lunch and how satisfying my massage would feel the next morning.
Those thoughts kept me preoccupied and not a moment too soon, I saw the finish line. The minute I stopped running and refueled, I looked back and thought, "That wasn't that bad." Funny how quickly the mind can change it's perceptions. I got a lot of people questioning whether I wanted to do another one and the answer is definitely! That's the cool think about accomplishing goals. It gives you the motivation to keep attacking your ambitions and the confidence that you can succeed with a little bit of work and conviction.