This past Sunday was the 44th running of the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run. As I have for many of my years in DC, I spent the 10 weeks prior to it in training mode, gearing up to run a race that I’ve come to love. But going into it, I was nervous about it: what if I didn’t finish? What if I were disappointed with myself for my finish time? What if I lost all nerve at the starting line and simply didn’t finish? What if I saw that woman with that stupid-ass sign from two years ago?
None of the above happened, though. As I crossed the finish line on Sunday morning, I felt really and truly back in terms of physical health.
Sure, it was my slowest time, but I finished faster than I thought I would — and I had to hold myself back in some instances from hitting the pace at which I’ve traditionally run the race. Waiting in the starting corral, none of the nervousness from years past was there – I think I was too focused on keeping warm and telling myself that nothing mattered but finishing to really intimidate myself. The last two miles were arduous thanks to a strong and cold headwind, but now I know I can survive blustery conditions. Crossing the finish line, I was nothing short of triumphant and I cannot think of a better word for it. This race is what DC means to me, you see, and I was determined to feel like I belong once more.
So, I’m back. I’m contemplating the Baltimore 10 Miler in June. The Army 10 Miler in October is a little more iffy given that it tends to conflict with a work meeting of my husband’s. Either way, though, I really want to keep my running going because I’m finding a lot of joy in it these days.
Oh, and edited to add about the sign mentioned above, now that I have given birth:
Giving birth and running 10 miles are completely incomparable. They are radically different. They are tough in their own ways. In both cases, your body is going through an extreme act and how your body reacts and recovers are really dependent on the person.
But I can tell you this: women who have given birth are special. Women who run the 10 miles and have not given birth are special. Women who have run the 10 miles and have given birth are special. Women who have not run the race and have or have not given birth are special.
Goddamnit, we are all special. Period. It’s amazing what our bodies can do, simply because of our biology or biomechanics or both or something else entirely.