Tomorrow is the day I’ve been training for. 13.1 miles have my name on them and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.
I have a few cheerleaders in this whole half marathon thing, but probably none as big as my dear friend Amy Shertzer who has competed (and won!) countless races of her own. In 2005 she won the Disney Marathon. There were 24,000 runners in that event. Um, yeah. Those are fast shoes to fill.
A couple of weeks ago Sarah’s birthday gift from Amy arrived with a small little care package tucked inside for me. I love that girl.
Amy and Samantha and I used to walk every morning when we lived in Colorado Springs. We’d meet at the corner between our houses at 6:30 and cover a hilly loop, babies in tow. Regularly Amy would have already put in her running miles before meeting up with us for what was just a cool down for her. I’ve always admired her stamina, her will, her make-it-happen attitude. I remember in awe remarking once to her that I just didn’t know how she did all the running she did. And she replied that she was sure if I just put the miles in I could run races too.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll believe her.
Tonight I’m feeling a tad nervous, mostly excited, and a lot proud. I’m also feeling a bit enlightened. Like many (most?) women I’ve always had this idea of what my “ideal” body would be like if I just worked it a little harder, treated it a little kinder. My ideal body would be slimmer, trimmer, and surely less jiggly. I would shed a few pounds and slide into my jeans every morning with ease. Cellulite would vanish. It would be a lovely, lovely thing.
For the last couple of months I’ve averaged running 20 miles a week. This is without a doubt the most exercise I’ve routinely conquered in in my life which would mean I’m surely in the best shape I’ve ever been in. And guess what?
Cellulite is still (literally) hanging out with me. At the doctor’s office last month I actually weighed in at a few pounds heavier than last year. And my jeans, well, they’re fine. Not much has changed about me on the outside. But this running challenge has done something powerful for the inside of me.
I never again have to wonder what my body would look like if I worked it a little harder, treated it a little better. I’ve done it and now I know. This body I have is a gift. It’s not perfect and it’s certainly not jiggle-free but it’s healthy and powerful and able. I’m so thankful for that. And I’m so happy to know what the “ideal” me looks like…it looks, well, kind of the same. And now, I’m good with that.
So tomorrow I’ll put all of Amy’s advice, encouragement, lessons, and sticky notes to good use. I actually think I’ll enjoy it too.
But don’t think I haven’t already eaten those “post race rewards.”