Two weekends ago when running the Glow in the Deke 5k with my best friend I got to experience the race from a perspective I haven’t been in a while…for the first time. My friend ran her first 5k without stopping to walk or take a break. She was someone who had been a non-runner just months before. I’m talking someone who always said she HATED running. I was sooo proud of her!
While running with her I reminisced over what it felt like to run two miles and three miles for the first time. It reminded me of what it felt like to run when a couple miles was the most I’d ever ran, and when I finished my first half marathon, and 16 miler, and 20 miler, and marathon. And guess what? The feeling is the same no matter how many miles you run. Anytime you run a distance you haven’t before, the pride you feel when you hit stop or cross that finish line are the same. You feel so accomplished, prideful, emotional, excited, and tired.
“At mile 20, I thought I was dead. At mile 22, I wished I was dead. At mile 24, I knew I was dead. At mile 26.2, I realized I had become too tough to kill.”
My friend shared how she felt emotional as she came around that last corner of the track thinking about how she was finishing a distance she had worked hard to complete. I didn’t tell her, but those emotions are not just something she experienced. Stand at the finish line of most races and you see it in people’s faces and body language-emotions. I once read somewhere that a marathon finish line is a melting pot of emotions, and I couldn’t agree more.
Some people are running for others who can’t, in memory of a significant person in their life, to overcome, to succeed, to move on, to start new, to test their limits, and for reasons we can’t begin to understand. Running races and finishing new distances makes you feel real and raw in a different way hence the wide range of emotions. Take two minutes of your day and check out the raw emotions this amazing photographer caught at the finish of this year’s Twin Cities Marathon earlier in October. I promise it is worth it; I teared up and couldn’t stop smiling at the same time!
Many a times I’ve fought back tears when crossing the finish line whether it is a new distance, an especially challenging race, or being so overcome with joy and pride at something I worked so hard for. Many times these emotions are strongest the first time and we forget the feeling of being a new runner. It was great to be reminded of those challenging days when you never knew how a run would feel or if you would survive it.
I loved being around other runners who seemed to be new to running, too. I was overcome with pride for them. Seeing others do something I love and watching them experience it in a positive way makes me so excited. While most of us wouldn’t want to go back to the very first time we ran (or a first time at a distance), this week run for the first time. Run a new distance, a new route, with a new friend, or at a new time. Take a run around a route where you first began to run and reminisce of over those first miles where you became a runner one step at a time. Take those first steps or celebrate how far you’ve come!
“The person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race.”