Half marathon. Am I right?
I distinctly remember mine. It was a long time ago, and it was with 2 of the ladies I still run with to this day. We shared one gel between the 3 of us over 21.1kms. We knew nothing of pacing, splits or (evidently) nutrition. We marvelled as the Kenyan runners flew past us on their way back to the finish line.
The nerves? Oh my… the nerves. Before the start we stood on the sidewalk and scanned the horizon for the porta-potties amidst all the runners and what I remember most was the distinct belief that we were so out of place; like we didn’t deserve to be there. I said, out loud, “Look at all these super fit people!”
That’s when someone turned to me and said, “you ARE one of those super fit people.”
I frequently think back to that day when I step onto a start line and see the faces of the people taking on their first race. I feel like sometimes I’ve turned into one of those runners who thinks things like “Oh, it’s just a half…” or “I’ll just do this as a training run.” Sometimes, I don’t give the distance of the race the respect it deserves.
I’ve done enough races that I’ll often downplay the fact a half-marathon is a big deal. To some, it’s a terrifying proposition. And to many, without question, a huge accomplishment.
And you know what? It is. It absolutely is. And so the next time I’m standing on the start line, I’ll try to remember to look at one of those nervous faces and smile. And make sure that they know that they deserve to be here, and that they too are “one of the fit people”.
After all, they made it to the start line.