I could have poured this out in a long winded Facebook post, but I think it deserves more.
It’s not a secret
I struggle with self-acceptance. Being away this weekend for the race was actually a really good thing because it allowed me to just be honest. To look down at myself, standing in a hot shower- no one at the door trying to get in, or at the sink talking to me about the upcoming week… just a good long look at all the work I’ve done, undone, and that will never change.
And I was brutal.
Steam rising around me, I let it slip: you’re disgusting. I felt it burn through my teeth, as I stood, hands planted shoulder width apart on the wall in front of me. Everything on me hurt. From my muscles to my soul. I felt lonely and tired.
And I said it. Again.
And there was no little girl there to hear it. The ones who tell me how beautiful I am, even when my face is drained and my jeans have a rip in the knee. There was no husband there to smile and look away- the way he does when he’s caught staring. The way I know I’m still someone he wants to look at. There were no arms wrapped around my waist to admire the parts of me that prove that while I’ve given life, I’ve also run, swam and cycled a few thousand training miles. There were no little hands reminding me that a few soft parts of a woman’s body are just what babies need to cuddle into.
There was just me.
And the reminder of every social stigma out there. The lines of people walking by on city streets that are beautiful… in a way I’ve dreamed of, but could never achieve.
Philly Half Finisher
But when I woke up this morning to race photos, I was pleasantly surprised. I quickly scanned them, and realized the clock difference from my first half-marathon, 6 years ago (which was on September 19, 2010- exactly 4 years before Millie was born), before I even had babies or a business that kept me awake at night.
The Philadelphia Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon clock read 3:05:42. I started in Corral 19, so that wasn’t my race time, but let’s be real, I came in just under 3 hours at 2:42:14.
This race, 2,617 days later, I came in at 2:16:50, with more hills and an actual distance of 13.54 miles.
In two minutes
I bettered each mile by an average of 2 minutes.
In 2 minutes lives change. In 2 minutes I’m already into the next mile while the former version of myself is still struggling on the last.
Sometimes pulling through all the hard shit is… hard. Everyone around us is swimming in the same ocean and it feels like, more often than not, we’re being pulled at and pushed on to buoy others up. But I stood in my own hot shower this morning with Millie reading to me from a Disney Princess cookbook, talking about Thanksgiving and all the things we were going to do and I didn’t look down- I knew I’d have nothing nice to say about myself anyway- I just closed my eyes and looked ahead.
More miles to tackle and times to beat and lessons to learn. I’m already signed up for the 2018 Philly Half… maybe this will be my awakening trip before the holidays every year. A reminder that sometimes we need a break. We need to tear ourselves apart so we can appreciate all we’ve done, even if we aren’t where we want to be.