A few months ago, I signed up to run a 5k. And you guys, everything about it went wrong. I didn’t register correctly. I missed a deadline. I waited in a long line at an annoyingly un-helpful help desk. I left running gear at home and had to buy new things.
And then the actual training. Or lack thereof. I did a few outside runs, but not enough to feel prepared. I ate my body weight in popcorn the week leading up to the race. And chocolate. So much chocolate.
But that doesn’t even touch on yesterday, race day.
I didn’t sleep. My stomach hurt. My race buddy had a sick kiddo and couldn’t come. My nose was stuffy. My head hurt.
So at 5:30 in the morning, I turned off my alarm and stared at the ceiling and had to make a decision.
Am I going to do this?
A VERY good portion of me was saying no. It was cold and still dark outside. I was exhausted. I didn’t feel prepared in any capacity.
But then I looked over at my running clothes all laid out. The bib pinned crookedly to my shirt. My new running shoes, purchased because I had literally run holes into my old ones. My favorite socks. The pair of running pants I had purchased as a treat to myself.
And I got out of bed.
I grumbled. A lot. But I pulled on my clothes and stepped into the chilly fall air. I drove downtown and found a parking spot. I walked to the start line, arms prickling with goosebumps. I put in my earbuds and bounced on the balls of my feet.
I ran. When everything felt wrong, I ran.
And with each step, each block, each mile, I learned.
Sometimes you feel tired. But you just need to take the first step.
Sometimes you feel unprepared. But you’ve just forgotten your strength.
Sometimes you feel frustrated. But you just need to remember grace.
Sometimes you feel slow. But you just need to focus on steady.
Sometimes you don’t want to run. But you just need to.
I almost don’t tell you this next part. Because it feels too neatly packaged. But I did take that first step, and find my strength. And I finished the race with my best time.
But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes you just finish it. And it’s painful and arduous. But you finished it.