A couple of weeks ago I ran my first half marathon. To say it was brutal would be to minimize all the feelings I felt during it. It started off with excitement, waking up at 4am, leaving my house and heading off to run the longest distance I had ever run. It was a cold gloomy morning when I arrived to the start line. I didn’t know anyone there, but somehow managed to strike up a conversation with a couple official photographers and fellow runners. Since I was in the slower groups, it took a bit of time for the race to start for my wave, but I was excited. No matter what, in a few hours, I would have finished my first half marathon and completed my longest run yet.
The first six miles were actually quite pleasant. The road was somewhat flat and I felt full of energy. Was I really going to do this? Was it really going to be pleasant? Then around mile seven, the hills started. A constant up and down through the streets of LA as if designed for the say “only the strong survive.” Furthermore, I got violently sick, so sick that I actually had to stop for a second to prevent myself from throwing up and throwing away the race. I ended up walking for the next half a mile hoping that would settle my nerves and my stomach. And it did, but I didn’t feel strong anymore, I felt slow as if something was dragging me back. For the next five miles I had to convince myself to push at every step. The songs playing in my headphones disappeared into the chatter in my mind and I had to keep reminding me to just breathe and keep going. One things was sure, I was going to finish the race. No matter what! Even if I had to crawl past the finish line, I would cross that finish line. Plus, my dear friend Miriam was waiting for me at the finish line and my friend Emmanuel was tracking me online all the way from London. There was no way I would let myself down or let them down.
And just like that, mile by mile I kept going. I sang the song on my playlist in my head, I smiled and kept going. When I took the last turn towards the finish line, I started crying. I could see the finish line and through everything, I had reached it. Just as I crossed the finish line, I felt my phone buzz. It was Emmanuel congratulating me and a second later a text from Miriam read: Look to your right! I had been so in my head, I didn’t even hear her call out my name. She held out a sign saying “Great job, Lavinia!” and in that moment I knew that her being there was part of the reason I was able to push forward through all my emotions, through getting sick, through feeling week. There was so much power in knowing that she will be at the finish line, waiting for me.
What are the places in your life where you could benefit from having someone in your corner, someone waiting for you at the finish line, someone who without knowing will push you through your hardest times and allow you to succeed when you think you might not be able to. While this time around for me it was Miriam, I have so many people in my life who are always in my corner no matter what. Who are the people who are always there for you? Have you told them how much their support means to you?