Mentally, I am alert. Emotionally, I am elated. Spiritually, I am rich.
Physically, I am drained.
This mix of emotions follows the 2012 Lady’s Speed Stick Women’s Half Marathon in Nashville Saturday morning. I beat my 2011 Huntsville Half Marathon time by a minute-and-a-half — less than I had hoped, but an improvement nonetheless.
In Music City, we wound through a rolling course on a sunny morning, starting downtown and looping around after a long stretch on Belmont Boulevard. I walked up hills and ran down them with 1000 women in front of me (I finished 1000th – exactly!) and a couple thousand behind me.
We cheered each other on and I clung to helpful quotes (“Never waste a downhill”) and Bible verses (“Everything is possible through Christ who strengthens me”) displayed on fellow runners’ t-shirts.
Strangers cheered us on from the sidelines, calling us by our names that were printed on race bibs. These supporters held up motivational signs, “Pain is weakness leaving the body” and “Pain is temporary; finishing is forever.”
I drove up to Nashville by myself Friday, leaving my husband and our two girls at home in Huntsville. I missed them all, but cherished the solitude.
More than anything, I cherished the achievement. My achievement. And the achievements of so many other women, including Ashley Evans, who finished first in 1:25:16. Wow! Hats off to all the top finishers. Kudos, really, to all the finishers. There is power in numbers and it was empowering to be with so many women pursuing strength and good health through running.
During the Women’s Half, I struggled after mile 11, but remembered my husband saying, “Just put one foot in front of the other… as fast as you can.”
His advice helped get me to mile 12. There isn’t much I remember from the final 1.1, other than a conversation with a runner who told me she is 80 pounds lighter today than she was when she ran the race last year.
Now that’s victory.