I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I am the worst quitter I know. Well, sometimes I am a great quitter: I quit smoking 16 months ago. But one month ago, I quit the Indy Mini Marathon.
The Indy Mini is the nation’s largest half marathon and it kicks off the month-long festivities leading up to the Indianapolis 500.
Approximately 6 months ago, a coworker who we’ll call “Chandler”, convinced me to train and compete in this year’s ½ marathon. I quickly agreed. What could go wrong? I had been running about 15 miles a week and working out on a regular basis. Then the “checkpoints” started. By the first weekend in February, run a 5K. The first weekend in March, a 10K. April, a 15K. So on and so forth. I checked in on the 5K at the local gym that Chandler belongs to…and that was it. No more check in’s occurred. I was in my own head. There’s no way in hell I am going to be able to run 13.1 miles. I run 3.1 miles five times a week. And done. So I quit. *See “Agony of Defeat”.
The day before the Indy Half Marathon, another coworker we’ll just refer to as “Tim” said, “I’ll see you at the Mini tomorrow!” With my head turned sideways, I thought, “He clearly doesn’t read my blog”. “No, no…I am not running tomorrow. I had an upper respiratory infection, was on antibiotics, I’ve only been running 3 miles at a time…no way I can run the mini tomorrow…good luck to you though!!” Tim being ever so knowledgeable about the Indy half marathon says to me “Oh you will be fine! I’ve only been running 3 miles a day…the festivities are fun…you will be so distracted…and if you get tired…walk!” I had not considered the walking part. If I get tired, walk. I can certainly walk. OK! I’ll do it. And so I am the worst quitter ever. I was back into running a half marathon, the day before! Yikes!!
Three Things I learned About Myself While Running a Half Marathon:
1. The Unknown Is Scary To Me.
- I had no idea what to expect. What if I got tired? Could I use my Uber app to get back to my car? How embarrassing is that?
- In my mind, I would be a lone soldier running silently with my thoughts in the streets of Indianapolis. Did I mention it’s the nation’s largest half marathon? There was so much people-watching and back-of-the-shirt reading to do! I had no idea! I actually snapped a picture of a man wearing a shirt with the number 23 on the back of it and texted it to, my overly-obsessed-with-the-number-23, friend Kevin Tex.
2. My Support System is Greater Than Me
- Regardless of my quitting a month before the race, Chandler, Tim and my husband were all so supportive of my last minute decision. Who knew that others could believe in me more than I believed in myself?
- During the less exciting part of the run (the actual Indianapolis Motor Speedway track), I sent my girls a text message “I could use a little encouragement…I’m between miles 7 and 9. To which my longtime friend Monica, sent me 4 video messages. One from her husband Seth, one from her son Owen, one from her daughter Corinne and one from her daughter Lyla. The message was the same and just what I needed “Run Shelley Run!”
3. Support From Others Comes in a Variety of Ways
- There were so many different bands, church groups, & cheer leading squads from mile one to mile 13. Each one playing a different variety of music. This was certainly entertaining and encouraging, especially after mile 5. Ugh…8.1 miles to go!
- I heard songs that reminded me of family and friends. It truly made me believe they were there telling me to GO! GO! GO!
- Hey Mickey You’re So Fine (better known as Hey Mickey Como Estas) This was a song that my best friend Julie and I used to sing to the top of our lungs when we were 16!
- A Church Group singing Aloe Blacc and Avicci’s “Wake Me Up”. Three weeks earlier my Dad told me how much he liked that song and was moved by it!
- Rocky Top – both Julie AND Cindy!
- Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” – one of my husband’s favorites!
- Rounding the corner for the last mile of the half marathon, I read a bright pink sign that said “Make this last mile your BITCH”. I smiled, made the turn and kicked up my pace. My phone began to ring, I tried to cancel the call, but answered it instead. It was my sister Jena. I could hardly speak I was so out of breath. She could tell I was out of breath, so she just said, “Run Run Run! Call me when you are done!” I hung up and continued on. Moments later, about ½ mile to go, I ran past my friend Cara! I turned back and with happiness and joy in the pain that was rolling through my body, we connected and helped each other to the finish. I crossed the finish line with her hand in mine.
I’m not sure what made me change my mind the day before. I suppose it was mostly the confidence that others had in me. It was certainly more confidence than I had in myself. Regardless, I am very proud that I completed it. I’m proud of myself for not giving up. I completed the One America Mini Marathon in 2:46:28 with an average of 12:41 per mile. And I didn’t have to take Uber back to my car!