My favorite day of the week!
One of the best parts about running a half marathon, or any race in general, is the medal you get after crossing the finish line. The symbol of all your hard work, determination and the endless miles you’ve put in.
I spend a significant amount of time on Monday’s scrolling through the Medal Monday tag on Instagram admiring everyone’s gorgeous medals and reading the stories behind them, which has inspired me to share the stories behind each of my medals every Monday. Until I run out of medals that is. This won’t last very long because I only have six so far (more to come!).
My first race actually wasn’t a half marathon. It was a 5k that was part of Tampa’s Gasparailla Half Marathon Weekend in 2015. I was in the midst of my half marathon training when I realized that I had no idea what to expect at the starting line, on the course or at the finish line. So I signed up for the 5k hoping to get the pre-race jitters out of me and feel more comfortable in the racing environment.
When I’m working towards a goal or when I achieve something big I often struggle with feeling like an impostor. I struggled immensely with this when I first started running, and I still do from time to time. Even though I had run 5k’s on my own more times than I could count, I was nervous everyone there would be able to tell I hadn’t been a runner for very long and that I was still figuring this whole thing out. I thought they’d be able to see through all my appropriate running gear and game face right to the girl that was always picked last in gym class. I even worried about being the last person to finish even though I always finished my 5k’s within 34 minutes.
Instead of my nightmares coming to life, I realized that day that no one knew I was new to running and most importantly even if they did…no one cared. Everyone was excited to be there and in high spirits or just too wrapped up in worrying about what pace they had to keep to break a PR.
Since I picked up on that quickly at the starting line, I was able to run carefree and enjoy the experience of my first race. At that point in my running journey, my best time for a 5k was 33 minutes. When I crossed the finish line at Gasparilla I realized I finished in 29 minutes and 45 seconds. I know that’s not fast by any means but for the girl that couldn’t do a single pull up in high school it felt pretty damn good.
Once I stopped worrying about whether I was worthy enough of running a race or living up to the expectations literally no one had for me as a runner (seriously, I made them up in my head!), I was able to run my best and run faster than I had before. That, my friends, is EXACTLY where the magic happens and that’s why every time I look at this medal I remind myself that only when I stop worrying about being good enough will I succeed and pass my own expectations.
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