One year ago I was preparing for my first 5K. I was freaking out over training runs that were slower than I wanted and freaking out from sheer anxiety about the whole thing, too. But eventually race day rolled around and I laced up and headed to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and busted my ass getting up and down those 3.1 miles of hills and after 47 minutes and 40 seconds I crossed that finish line.
Then the official times were published.
Out of 362 runners, I came in dead last.
I could have seen it as a sign. I could have said, well, looks like running isn’t for me. I could have felt bad, felt down, overanalyzed the race to see what I had done wrong.
I had come in last place. I had, for all intents and purposes, lost that race. I was a loser.
And you know what? I wore that label with pride.
|Tattoo says “defy gravity” — from the musical Wicked|
In completing that race I had done the impossible. Or, at the very least, I had done what had seemed impossible only a few months before. Because I may have been the last person to cross that finish line but I had crossed that finish line.
Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I’m lacing up and heading back to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to once again participate in the Running With a Mission 5K. That’s right, dear readers: this here runner is returning to the scene of the crime and I couldn’t be more excited. Seriously, my body is practically buzzing just waiting to line up at the start. I’m going to take on those stupid stupid hills (seriously: who the hell designed the zoo’s layout?!) and run my little heart out and once again cross that finish line with pride, regardless of where in the overall list I fall.
After all, my only real competition is myself.
Love from the ashes,