October has always been a big month. For the past four consecutive Octobers I have either ran a half marathon, ran a full marathon, or taken a trip somewhere.
Last week my fit friend and I celebrated our two-year anniversary of running the Mankato marathon. WOW. Two years. What seems like yesterday and forever ago at the same time has come and gone. As I reflected, I thought about how incredible I felt after crossing the finish line. I remember looking at my training plan with miles scribbled out and thinking, “I did that” and beaming with pride.
Fast forward to October of 2019. My body was physically prepared to run a half marathon in Hood River, OR. Something changed during that race that has taken me awhile to describe. Midway through the race I grabbed my phone and recorded a bit of the course (I will admit it was very poor quality given the elements of rain and a winded narrator). However, it was in that moment I found something in myself that had been missing since I ran the marathon. I found peace within myself. I was out in the middle of no where Oregon as a twenty-something running. I was not trying to qualify for the Olympics, I was just enjoying my Sunday stroll in the Gorge. I was enjoying and thinking about the time I spent leading up to this specific race. This feeling of peace is a feeling I have clung to over the past 12-months. I think back to that time and think about my mental and physical state. Honestly, I was in some of the best shape of my life and weighed as much as I did in high school (post-ACL surgery [which was significantly less than what I weighed pre-ACL surgery]). Mentally, however, I was a wreck. That semester was a full workload of courses, capstone work, and personal hardships. I remember being so anxious before bed most nights I would cry. I felt so helpless. In short, I was not ok. I can honestly say that I have no idea what I would have done without the support of my friends and family. Those close to me can probably attest to the wreck I was and for very valid reasons.
Wow. Fast-forward to the October of 2020. While we might be living in the middle of a pandemic, social unrest, a hostile political climate, and the beginning of winter, I am in a MUCH better place. Do not get me wrong, I still have my days. The days are few and far between compared to 2019.
Even in what I would consider some of my more challenging time, I ran (halfway) up a mountain. This is not meant to be a brag or gloating post of any sort. My point is, even when we are weak, we are so much stronger than we realize. And it might take a year or two to realize just how strong, but it will happen. Give yourself the attention and time to reflect. Be vulnerable with yourself. I hope to look back at my October 2020 self and think “wow, you did that.” Because we all deserve an admirer. Sometimes, that admirer just needs to be yourself.
Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.Brene Brown
This is just a reminder to take life one mile at a time. By the end of it, you might have just run yourself a marathon without even realizing.