“Glad to hear you’re on the mend. If you’re feeling up to it, give the 13.1 a shot. You can always walk if your knee starts to hurt,” Read the comment from Josh of Food GPS.
He was responding to my December 28th post, “13.1 Marathon: A reflection on wellness and chocolate cake,” a spineless manifesto about why I couldn’t possibly run the inaugural Los Angeles race on January 10th.
“I just got over a knee injury,” I’d explained in the piece.
“It’s not healthy for a person to push themselves too hard,” I’d insisted.
“Wellness comes from listening to my body!” I’d philosophized.
They were all excuses – weak justifications to convince myself that I wasn’t wussing out because I was scared and didn’t want to embarrass myself – the same reasons that I’ve, for the most part, avoided racing since college. This fear of failure is a well-oiled cliché in my running life, and two weeks ago, I was ready to let it dictate my course of actions (or more accurately, inactions) yet again.
Until I read Josh’s comment.
“Give the 13.1 a shot. You can always walk if you knee starts to hurt.”
His words echoed in my head at least a dozen times that day. While I would never actually allow myself to walk during a race, I knew he was right. As scared as I was that my knee would start hurting or I’d choke at mile 9, I did want to, as he wrote, “give it a shot.”
The next morning I logged 7.5 miles before work to prepare for a longer run that weekend. I told myself that if I could get through a 10 miler on Saturday, 8 days before the race, I’d sign up to run.
My subsequent 11 mile run went better than I expected, and the following day, I entered the media comp code I’d received to complete my free registration for the 13.1 Marathon.
“No turning back now!” I thought as I pushed the “submit” button. Then I forced myself to announce my racing status to the Twitterverse lest I decide to back out at the last minute due to some inane reasoning like, “I didn’t get enough sleep last night,” or “I’m too stressed out about moving.”
While, I didn’t get enough sleep on Saturday night, and I was stressed out about moving, on Sunday morning at approximately 7:00 am, I was at the start line of the 13.1 Marathon ready to traverse the Venice and Culver City landscape by foot.
The next hour, forty minutes and thirteen seconds were the best I’ve had so far this year. Even now, two days later, my calves so sore I can barely move from my desk, I can’t stop smiling thinking about how good it felt to be on a race course again among my fellow runners.
For that brief period of time, I was the gazelle I am in my head.
I can’t wait to do it again.