It started one evening with a glass of wine, as many stupid things do. And after a second glass, it was becoming a better and better idea. I would do it. I would train my ass off and the half-marathon would be a breeze. I texted my friend Nix and convinced her to join me. I put my cursor over the ‘register’ button and clicked. Then poured another glass.
Let me provide a bit of context. The longest distance Nix and I were both running at this point was a generous 5K. And those were borderline difficult for us (or at least for me). My sense of accomplishment after putting in 5K on the treadmill at the sterile and depressing local gym was sky high. In fact, if I ran two of those in a single week, I was feeling pretty good about myself—so hardcore, I know.
So the next morning, I woke up and checked my email, and there it was: my confirmation for the Lausanne Half Marathon. Thirteen miles. Twenty-one kilometers. More than four times the running distance I was currently suffering through, and two months to train. My stomach sank. It could’ve been from the wine last night, but I felt an ache in the pit of my gut and texted Nix: ‘So we’re doing this (face palm)…When do we start?’
You start with one foot, and follow with the other.
I used to roll my eyes when my mom would confront me with this old adage growing up. My 8th grade science project that didn’t seem to be working—‘you’ll get it done. just one foot in front of the other.’ My 11th grade boyfriend just cheated on me—‘it’s going to be fine, just one foot in front of the other.’ University accounting class may actually be the end of me—‘stop being dramatic, you’ll get through it, just one foot in front of the other.’ What am I going to do living halfway across the world from my family?—‘embrace the new adventures, go forward with one foot in front of the other.’
And here we were. Literally having to put one foot in front of the other, again and again, for minutes, and eventually hours at a time. And as we ran, we realized that this training was actually becoming bigger than the marathon itself.
We processed on the pavement. We pounded out our frustrations, we relayed our joys, and we stopped for sunset photos on the lake, all while taking turns pushing my two-year-old son in the jogger on pebbled paths along the shore. This dread of running that once existed was replaced with a hunger, almost a need to do it. It became our ritual. Our therapy. Our church. And, in most ways, it became our proof of personal growth and survival and our ability to endure even when everything on this earth (and within our bodies) tells us that we shouldn’t. We all have our own stories; our own burdens and frustrations, our own personal triumphs and joys…running just brought them to the surface and gave us a way to chew on them in a refreshingly tangible way.
This past Sunday we laced up our shoes, and stood next to thousands of others who all had their own stories, their own journeys of what brought them to that race. For some, it was another notch in their marathon belt. For others, it was a once in a lifetime feat being checked off of their bucket lists. For us? I’m still not sure. What I do know is that we, as humans, are far more capable than we give ourselves credit for. And *spoiler alert* we made it…we crossed that finish line (under 2 hours!) and it all started with one foot, and followed by the other.
A big shout out to Ibex Coffee for not only sponsoring us, but fueling us too. To amb sox whose speedy sox were so comfortable, that one of our toenails was literally bleeding (for other reasons) and we didn’t even feel it until after the race. To On running shoes–so lightweight and supportive at the same time, we look forward to lacing up each time we hit the pavement. And of course, to the Lausanne Marathon volunteers–it was cold, it was windy, and many of you stood on the sidelines handing out hundreds of cups of water (often getting splashed by runners tossing them aside) and cheering us on until your own voices were hoarse. Thank you. You were the ones that kept us going with a smile.
*Run Wild was printed on the back of our shirts in honor of Nix’s late husband, Mark, who was known for doing just that–as well as living free and loving strong. “Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong.”