Two years ago I ran my first half marathon: It was suffocatingly humid, my feet, legs, hips, and back hurt in a way I’d never before experienced, and it took me well over three hours to finish. Yesterday I took on the same 13.1 miles at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, and guys — I killed it!
The first seven miles flew by (not that I was flying). That has never happened. Usually I’m ticking off the miles one by one (“I’m only at mile four!?”) But I felt great.
The heat finally caught up to me between miles 8 and 10. THE STRUGGLE WAS REAL.
The only hill on an otherwise flat course is the General Booth Boulevard overpass at mile 11. I knew once I crested that sucker I could let go and barrel down the other side. I grabbed at everything the blessed volunteers and good people of Virginia Beach were handing out — ice-soaked sponges, Gatorade, freeze pops — biding my time till I could gun it.
As I rounded the final corner onto the boardwalk all I wanted to do was stop, walk, catch my breath. But my legs kept doing that one foot after the other thing, propelling me forward to set a new PR: 2:30:43! Running is a mind game.
It blows my mind to see how far I’ve come — especially on days when it still feels hard, and that is why I especially love answering in a gaffaw when asked if I was always a runner. Two years ago I couldn’t run two miles without stopping to walk.
There’s so much power in just taking that first step to start something. That’s why I love all that Still Easier Than Chemo represents. It amazes me that I get to see how that simple message has touched and inspired so many.
So get out there. Say no to can’t. Find your strong. After all, it’s still easier than chemo.