This weekend I was traveling and I needed to get in a long run for training for the Star Wars Rival Run 10K that I a doing at Walt Disney World next month. Because I was traveling and not familiar with the area, I chose to run a local 10K so I would be in a safe area and with other runners. The race was in Marina Vista which is in Long Beach, California. When I got to the race, there were only about 15 people running and everyone was running different distance races. Once the race started, I text my husband and told him that I was going to be last, the following conversation took place, while I am attempting to run.
Jim: Pick up your pace. You can do this. Finish strong.
Me: I’m last because there are only about 15 people.
Jim: Then you are not last, you finished in the top 15.
I laughed, and put my phone in my pocket. At this point, I was about half a mile into the run and I didn’t want to be discouraged, but I was. I was discouraged because I haven’t been able to pick up my pace like I’ve wanted to, I haven’t been training like I’ve wanted to because of a strained muscle, and I haven’t dropped the weight like I’ve wanted to. As a matter of fact, it took everything within me to get to the race that morning. It was a 40-minute drive from where I was staying, and because I didn’t have my reading glasses on when I typed the address into the GPS, I went to the wrong street address; that caused me to be 15 minutes later than I wanted to be. I had already started to catalog what needed to happen for me to turn around and go back to the hotel, but I found where I was suppose to be and started the run. Let me say, the start of this race had zero fanfare and absolutely no fireworks. The starting line was drawn across the sidewalk in chalk.
I was in a mental downward spiral. Then, I saw the parrots.
I didn’t know there were wild populations of parrots in Southern California. There they were, in a tree that I was running under and all I could think is, I wish Jim could see this. It was very cool. Just after the awesome parrot display, I got to the bridge. The bridge itself wasn’t that long, but it was a little higher than I’m used to in flat Houston; boats with sails have to go under it. My interval timer was on run, so I headed up and was so thankful that about halfway down, it was time to walk. As I reached the bottom, I realized how stupid it was to stop running on the way down and knowing that I would need to attack this bridge three more times, I decided that I would run up it and down it, no matter what the timer said. I was going to conquer the bridge.
Now, at this point, other runners are starting to pass me from the other direction. As a matter of fact, one person had already passed me and I was half to three-quarters of a mile. I wasn’t upset about him, he was booking it, but I was again starting to feel a little defeated because of it. It was at that point I started to really look around. Let me paint a little bit of a picture about what was around me. I was on the bay and the turn around in located where the bay feeds into the ocean. The area is very eclectic, so the houses are all different. I am at the Long Beach Yacht Club, so there are hundreds of boats. Did I mention the tree with the parrots? And the people. As the sun began to come out, people started to show up; other runners, kayakers, people walking their dogs, and a sweet, older couple doing Tai chi. It was all very beautiful. And I realized that I would have missed all of this beauty if I had continued to focus on what the other runners were doing and what I thought I wasn’t doing. It was very eye opening to me to know that I was doing my best by still comparing myself to others. Yet, I know better.
So, here is the kicker in the whole thing, and I may cry as I type this out. Two girls started the race after me. For most of the race, they were behind me, I was close to two miles into the race when I passed them the first time, they were probably around one and a half. Within the last probably quarter of a mile, the girls passed me. It was a bit disappointing because they started so much later than I did, but I decided that the close to 30-year age difference may have a lot to do with their ability to catch and pass me. I had also decided to turn off my interval timer and run the last half mile of the race because it always my policy to run across the finish line and I was feeling pretty good and none of my pains were flaring. When I crossed the chalked out finish line, something amazing happened, the gentleman who runs the events walks toward me with my medal; this is not the amazing part, the amazing part is the back of the medal says, “2nd place, 10K.” He told me that although the girls finished before me, they did not start on time and it disqualified them from placing.
WHAT??? And, I have a new personal record.
“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” – 2 Chronicles 15:7
So, as I sit a couple of days out, dealing with the pain of conquering the bridge four times, I am so grateful for being able to see everything that was around me and to realize that if I do what I can do and don’t give up, I will be okay; I just needed a change in perspective. I do not expect to earn another 2nd (or 1st) place medal, but all runners know that it isn’t what place you finish, all medals are earned, not given.
BTW – Jim called me around mile 4.5, thinking I was finished. As a matter of fact, he had forgotten the 2 hour time difference between Texas and California. This is why he responded to my text the way he did, he thought I was almost finished!