A little over a year ago, I sat across from my friend Randy at our favorite coffee shop one morning before work.
I had recently started taking the running classes offered with the CrossFit membership I had at the time and was discovering how much I actually enjoyed running. Randy is an avid runner – qualifying and finishing the Boston Marathon many times – so of course, I had begun to badger him with questions and requests for advice.
He looked across the table and said I needed to run a half marathon. I gave him a very serious side-eye which led him to say “don’t worry, I’ll train you.”
Well, friends – that was the best over-coffee-conversation I may have ever had (and with my addiction for coffee, there have been many!).
This weekend I finished my 4th half marathon of 2014!
Saturday was an inaugural race: the Run Hard Lexington Half Marathon. Race day was cloudy and cool (but not as cold as the Governor’s Cup had been). At mile 3 a drizzle began, but thankfully it subsided (because one thing I don’t do is run in cold rain).
I never really understood the phrase “mind over matter” until I started training. Most of my long runs involve me attempting to suppress the voice in my head that is trying hard to negotiating a shorter run…or converting to a long walk. Not only is training physically exhausting, but at times it can be emotionally draining.
Saturday was no exception. Those feelings of self-doubt were out in full force.
We hit a long uphill climb after mile 5. It wasn’t the kind of hill I was used to conquering downtown – steep, but short enough that I could see the top. It was so long I couldn’t see the top (literally miles ahead with a few curves woven in). My self-doubt was coming on strong when I heard an uneven step behind me followed by a “good morning.”
And along came my new friend, Jerry, who struck up a conversation that pulled me through.
Jerry is a 67-year-old race veteran (when asked how many races he’d run his reply was “hundreds…I’m old”) who was battling a heel injury (hence the uneven sound of his strides). He is also a Cross Country Coach for a local high school team. As we ended our first of several chats, Jerry said “you’ve got great running form. Keep it up and you’ll meet your goal today.” Hearing that from a running coach is probably the best compliment EVER (I know, I’m a nerd).
We hung together until the end where he said “ok, Jordan, I’m going to finish just behind you” and let me take the finish line before him 🙂
At this point you’re probably laughing because I barely beat an injured 67-year-old across the finish line. Whatever, I’m a proud member of the #SlowRunnersClub 😉
I might be slow, but I’m getting ever-so-slightly faster: I set a new personal record (PR) – shaving 6 minutes off my Governor’s Cup (and 7 off my Palmetto Half) to finish at 2:06.
I can’t lie: having a coach who has believed in me every step (pun intended) of the way is the reason I’ve stuck with this torturous journey – and I’m so glad I have. I’ve learned so much from running – like mastering mind over matter (or at the very least how to suppress self-doubt long enough to reach the finish line of tough situations).
As this year comes to an end, I hope you’re thinking through your 2015 goals – and I encourage you to add running to the list. I promise to be your cheerleader!
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