Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Testing Your Limits.

On Sunday I ran the toughest race of my life and that is truly saying a lot. I've run the infamous Heartbreak Hill in the Boston Marathon, I've battled the sweltering heat in the Chicago Marathon, I've run with a bloody heel in New York City and none of those races touched what I endured on Sunday. 

I ran a half marathon by myself in Athens, Greece. I was supposed to run the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon but circumstances left me unable to attend. So instead of scratching the race, I decided to challenge myself by running my own half marathon because I am not one to bow out on something I've committed myself to. 

I knew the race was going to be a challenge for various reasons, I was running by myself, the course was monotonous, and I had to enjoy a nice hill every 800 meters, ouch. I was willing to test myself though because I knew what I was running for. I signed up to run the Livestrong Austin Half as a member of Team Livestrong and as a member of the Team I committed to raising funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, along with that I told my family months in advance that this race would be dedicated to my late Uncle Mike, I knew I couldn't back down. 

So on Sunday I toed an invisible starting line and set out on what ended up being the biggest test I've ever encountered. It was tough from the very beginning, I only had my boyfriend there for support, who was nothing short of amazing. The course was brutal, I had to run a total of 26 hilly loops in the park to complete my 13.1 mile race. I knew that this was a race against myself, I knew the only person or thing that would stop me from reaching my destination was me and I wasn't going to fail. 

When you are running that length of distance you think about so much and the main thing I thought about was how lucky I am. Lucky because here I am twenty five years old, healthy, happy and being able to do something I love. I thought about why I was running and who I was running for, this pushed me to keep moving. I thought about how awesome the Lance Armstrong Foundation is and what it is we are trying to accomplish. I thought about how much support and love I've received from family and friends back home in the United States, who were cheering me on. Most importantly I thought about my Uncle Mike and what his family had to go through because of cancer and maybe by me running and all the other members of Team Livestrong running, that cancer will one day be a word of the past. This thought motivated and carried me to the finish. 

The run was in no way easy and not that enjoyable, but I ended with a smile on my face because I knew I passed one hell of a test. I tested my limits and I learned a lot more about who I am and who I am trying to be. I'm not looking for a pat on the back because I raise money for charity, that's not why I do what I do. I run because I can and if I can help people, do what I love and be a part of the global war against cancer then I'll do everything in my power to be a part of that. 

I may be sore today, my toes may have blisters but I am excited to take on another challenge on the road of becoming a better me. 

The real purpose of running isn't to win a race. It's to test to the limits of the human heart.
-Bill Bowerman


Here is a clip from race day. 

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