You grow up with a desire to win. It’s ingrained in you at your first soccer game, first game of Chutes and Ladders, first sack race. It was always a matter of who won and the poor kids who lost. Sure, our parents tried to instill the spirit of being a good sport and “good game” but, let’s face it, it was always about winning.
Yesterday, I ran my first 10k. Let me preface this by saying, prior to three months ago, I didn’t run. Sure I would run on the treadmill one of the few times I made it to the gym (that’s another story). But I was not a runner. I had no desire to run a race, no desire to run outside in sub-zero weather, no desire to finish something I couldn’t win. Then, my sister asked me to run the Hyannis 10k with her. I casually said yes, which turned into me saying I was doing it on Twitter and Facebook and, next thing you know, I was preparing to run my first race. HOLY SHIT. I don’t run. Especially in the freezing cold on a Saturday morning when I’d rather be eating pancakes, drinking my coffee and reading the paper. But I was committed so I started to train. I ran. I started slow and ran 3 miles here. 4 miles there. I could feel my lungs getting stronger. My legs running faster. Then I started my Saturday long runs of between 6-8 miles once a week. I am still amazed that I can actually run this far. The first time I ran from the North End, across the Mass Ave bridge and back, I couldn’t believe that I had run the equivalent of a 10k! Then I started to really look forward to my weekend runs. I downloaded new music and set up my playlist, got some crazy cold weather gear, started eating Goo, began tracking my miles and progress with RunKeeper (highly recommend!) and started to feel the buzz of a runner.
Yesterday came and I will admit…I was nervous! Sure, I had run over 6 miles for several weeks but I’d never run a race. I’m competitive. I don’t golf because I suck. I can be a sore loser. I don’t like to lose. But this was different. It was just about finishing. Crossing the finish line. That’s all I needed to do. With my sister (who totally rocked the race!) by my side, I ran all 6.2 miles and crossed the finish line and got my first medal. I was proud of my sister and proud of myself for finishing.
I ran over to see my family and my daughter said, “Mommy, you got the medal! Does that mean you won?” I explained that I didn’t come in first place but that I finished the race. She spent the rest of the day telling me that it was okay that I didn’t win because I did the best I could and finished what I started and that maybe I would win next time. Well, I guess it all comes back around.
For those of you out there who have never run a race, I highly encourage you to give it a go. It’s amazing what a goal can do for your personal commitment to finishing something, even if you don’t win. It was liberating, humbling and thrilling. All I could think of as I crossed the finish was….hmm, maybe a half marathon…and another medal.