About 8 weeks ago I was at a community event and ended up fracturing my toe. Fortunately, it wasn’t a sprawled on the ground spectacle, rather a moment of internal screaming, followed by a variety of stars and then an out loud, “Sh@t! That going to leave a mark!” Then I realized something far more serious. I was in the throes of training for a half marathon, I just broke my toe. Double sh@t!
Let’s go back a bit. I never thought myself as competitive. As a kid, I loved letting other people win. Perhaps being the youngest of three girls I figured I didn’t have a chance, so I just gave in.
That all changed when early in my twenties I was at a karaoke contest. You would have thought that the lives if my children were on the line. I was going to win that contest, period. I concluded that my competitive spirit had been stifled far too long and was ready to make up for lost time.
Fast forward, I love winning. Seems silly but nothing makes me happier than winning. Be it a business venture or family card game, I’m in it to win it.
Since running my first marathon more than 10 years ago, every race I run to win my age category. People in my running circles remind me that it’s about the finish. Internally, I’d roll my eyes and think, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I have written some columns and blogs about respecting my body and honoring its limits as well as its possibilities. But I don’t always heed my own advice, I tend to focus on the possibilities and um, winning. However, fracturing my toe set me back, significantly. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with making up for lost time.
However, this past week I completed my longest run before tapering prior to the 1/2 marathon November 10th. Early in to my run I noticed a young woman (I live on a college campus) walking with two canes. Immediately after that I saw a young man wheeling down the college walkway in a wheelchair. It hit me. The fact that I can just lace up my running shoes and go run is a gift. I have no limitations. O.K. so a broken toe, really?
I decided to acknowledge my setback and not head in to next week’s event to win (my age group) rather simply to finish. Sometimes just finishing the race has to be enough. I’d rather finish pretty than win ugly.
As of today, I’ve trained the best I can. I appreciate that the real win comes in the training and my dedication to finish the run. As much as I love to win, I suppose getting to the starting line is a win. Finishing is simply the bonus.
Here’s to many brilliant finishes!