What the hell am I doing sitting in Nancy's car at 6:45 AM on a Sunday heading toward Central Park to run (well wog - walk/jog) in a race. "Don't worry," Nanc said noticing my angst, "You will see, you are going to do better than you expect, I know it." I hoped she was right, but I gotta admit, doubt was running rampant through me. Maybe we won't find parking, I comforted myself as I zoned out. No such luck. We "somehow" managed to get a spot seconds from the entrance... grrrrrreat! As I walked to my doom, I couldn't even fathom how my girlfriend could look excited when my stomach was doing flips and tumbles that would put a gymnast to shame. She showed me to the table where I would pick up my bib with my number... Ok it's orange, my favorite color, this must be a good sign. I desperately searched for the positive. Then we received a tracker - a band that we would attach to our shoes which would record the time we crossed the start line and then the time we crossed the finish line. The information would then be posted to the road runners site so we could see our overall time. Quite honestly I could have cared less at that point about times etc... let's just get this thing over with I thought.
"10 minutes to start! 10 minutes to start!" My heart sank as I heard the volunteer call through the bullhorn. "C'mon Gem," Nanc said, "I'll show you where you will start." YOU? DID SHE SAY YOU? She then points to the orange section. Her bib was pink. OVERLOAD OVERLOAD... my brain couldn't process this...We would have to separate? I was on my own? Solo flight? I was suddenly 5 years old standing outside the kindergarten classroom on the first day of school.
I know Nanc was talking to me, trying to pep talk me, I saw her mouth moving but heard nothing. I just walked away and headed to my section. Standing there I admit, I had moments of contemplating bailing on the whole thing. It's incredible how fear can overtake even cripple you. I kept telling myself that in less than and hour and a half it would all be over and with that the line began to move. I decided that I would cue up my ipod only to look and see that I only had one bar of battery life left on it. Ok that's it... check it out God... get me through this and I don't care what you have to do, make this battery last for 4 miles. That was my prayer. And with that... we were off.
I jogged for at least the first 10 minutes which for me was a huge deal. I haven't jogged that much in quite sometime. Ok I admit it, the idea of Nancy (who started behind me) catching up to me and seeing me walking so early on in the race, messed with my macho - Waaaay too much for my ego to handle, so at the risk of blowing out my calf muscles, I kept jogging. Finally she passed me. Now I could begin my wog. I stepped off the course for a few seconds to stretch my poor tortured calves.
Time passed, alot of time. I was doing pretty good. Great actually. Jogging more than I thought I would and the best part was that I wasn't alone. There were other woggers just like me... So there I was me and lady gaga (on my ipod) actually doing it. I got into a grove where I walked the uphills and jogged the flats and downhills. After a while, I saw that the road turned ahead. Oh my god, I did it I thought, this is the turn that leads to the straight away that leads to the finish line. I rounded the corner. I saw the sign in the distance. This was not so bad at all i thought as I jogged to the sign for my big finish.
2 MILES it read. Wait what? Imagine my horror when I realized that in fact I had only gone 2 miles and had to repeat what I had done. Talk about a downer. There I was sure the race was over and I was only at the half way point. Suddenly the calf pain rushed back in.
I had to duck out of the way of the huge yellow butterfly. The butterfly that broke through all my negative thoughts. MOM! HI MOM! I knew she sent the butterfly which from that point would follow me the rest of the race. Suddenly it hit me. Negativity slows us down. All these complaining thoughts will not help me move any faster. I then remembered that I'm never alone and I called loudly upon my guides to help me. I suddenly heard Aurora, my physical body guide say, "Why would you stay in for this?" "Huh? What do you mean?" I asked her, it was not like her to suggest that I quit. "Why would you stay in your physical body for this? You know how to travel out, you do it all the time when you work. Why would you stay in for this? Did you ground yourself this morning?" She continued, "Did you connect (to the HP) this morning? Your body is only a machine. It will do as it is told. Pull up out of it." She said adamantly.
"I can't," I argued (I always argue with Aurora. She always wins.) "You are right. You can't. If you say you can't." She said adamantly. "But you can! "It's hard Aurora, my body hurts. I'm so aware of it." I whined back. "You are thinking too hard. Focusing on the pain. Just come sit here," and with that she gave me the visual of a seat made of cushy clouds. I lifted and sat. I gotta tell you, the next mile is a bit blurry to me, but it went much quicker than the first 2, I will say that for sure. I do know that I jogged a great portion of it and strong at that.
My concentration broke when I saw a runner who had already finished. She looked at me and started clapping and said, "You are almost there, you got this." The butterfly flew passed and this time, I knew the finish line was close. I also knew I was totally back in my body again as i could feel my achy legs. I began to jog because I saw another banner up ahead and I'd be damned if I wasn't going to cross the finish line running. I jogged and jogged and when I could finally read the banner it said BAGGAGE CLAIM... unreal... bamboozled again. Just as I was going to give in and walk, I rounded a corner to see a gazillion people standing on the sidelines cheering. Well fabulous, now I had no choice. I had to keep jogging. It's amazing what ego can inspire you to do. There was no way in hell that I was going to walk with thousands of people watching me.
So I jogged and I jogged and I jogged some more waiting for my legs to just fail and hoping if they did and I went down that I would just faint all together and wake up back home in my bed or something. Just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, I see Nancy (who had finished 25 minutes before) jumping up and down cheering me on. I wish I could tell you that we had a hallmark moment, that time stopped and tears ran down both of our faces as dramatic music played but no instead, in true Gemma form, I looked at her and said, "Where the f*&k is the finish line." Yup... that's right peeps... zen went right the hell out the window. About 15 seconds later, I crossed the finish line.
OK OK... I admit it. It felt good... really really good. Who'dathunk? Certainly not I.
Listen up Peeps... We can do alot more than we think we can. Never be afraid to challenge yourself to do the "impossible." Stay positive about it though because negative weighs you down. Also...surround yourself with positive supportive peeps (that may even believe in you at times more than you believe in yourself.) The only thing that makes something unattainable or impossible is ourselves.
And so my journey has begun. I will keep you posted of my progress as I continue on to NYC Marathon 2011!
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