Last month I ran the Alien Half Marathon in Roswell, GA. It is a night race that starts at 7pm in oppressive Atlanta August heat & humidity. I’ve run the race almost all years since it started in 2012. While I’m not the biggest fan of the race (just the time and the weather), I’ve loved to pace/sweep it.
This year I was assigned to pace the 3:00hr group. Race day brought us a starting temperature of 94F. While I knew that I could easily do 3:00 hrs in decent weather, I was not going to risk it in those temperatures (and oppressive humidity). It wasn’t to be to fair for the racers and not safe for me. So I opted to sweep and bring in the rear at 3:30. It was only a 15:20 pace to meet a midway cutoff and I made it very easily and came in at 3:27, bringing in about 6 people at that time – which is actually the FIRST time that I’ve had a group finish with a pace time in that race.
The best part of the race (other than the familiar crowd and pacers) was the free race photography by the extremely talented (and nice) Tim from TruSpeedPhoto – he was even able to get my teenager to smile for photos, that’s how talented he is!!
I looked up the race photos and it’s been a weird feeling since –
All I can see is that belly through the fluorescent green shirt.
The thought that I ran 13.1 hours looking like that.
I cannot see the patience I had in running for 3.5hrs, and encouraging people around me.
I cannot see the overcoming the struggles earlier in the morning to smile through this run.
I cannot see the people talking with me and telling me their stories and goals.
I cannot see the pleasant time I spent talking with Michele on the run.
All I can see is this crazy looking person with weird hair tentacles and a horrible looking body who struggles to keep running to the barest minimum of paces.
The demon that savages our confidence was in full force rampage in my head.
Then I stopped myself –
What if this was one of my kids’ race photo? Or a friend’s? Would I then see the same in the photo?
No. I would be proud and kind. Very proud and very kind.
Proud that after struggling to run 4 miles in the morning, I came back to run 13.1 in the evening.
Kind that body shape changes and I can recognize that and work towards what I want if I want to.
Patient that this is where I am at right now, whether I like it or not.
Happy that I was able to spend time running with friends and was able to push strangers to finish strong.
There is no place in my head for the demon that says I’m not good enough or I’m not beautiful or fast enough. Once that demon moves into my head, it can be very difficult to kick it out.
For I am exactly where I am to be. That is not to say that I should be happy and content with it, but it is on me to accept it or change it instead of moaning about it.