I have been to Vegas plenty of times before, but this time is different, because Sunday I'll be running that half marathon.
It's hard to believe it's December 1 already. It's hard to believe that almost one year ago (on Dec. 31) I decided I was going to become a runner. Me - a runner? I'm really not. I'm not always very motivated. I am a far cry from those super-skinny runners you see out there, braving the cold in their shorty shorts. I like food. I like sleep. I like TV. Are those habits of a runner? Well, yes.
I'm never going to fit a cookie-cutter mold of what you'd expect a runner to be. I'm going to skip runs to go to happy hour. I'm going to skip runs because it's "too cold." I'm going to run badly, a lot. I'm going to start a run streak and give up on day three. But considering that before this year, I ran a recorded zero miles, and this year I have run approximately 198.6 miles (to date), I'd say I'm doing okay.
(Side note: have I really almost ran 200 miles this year? Whoa.)
A friend of mine put together a community writing challenge called #Resound11 - a chance to reflect on 2011 and reinvent yourself as you head into 2012. On day one, you have to pick one word that describes your 2011, and share why it sums up the year.
Considering a huge part of 2011 for me has been running, I would say my word is perseverance.
You see, there are many times I could have quit. I could have quit when my shin splints made my legs feel like exploding. I could have quit when I ran my first 5k and had to walk roughly half of it due to unpreparedness and pain. I could have quit when I felt something snap or cramp or otherwise feel abnormal.
But I didn't.
And I know that pushing myself to run when I didn't really want to, and when I was traveling, and when I was hurting has made me better. And going from half a mile of running to 3 miles of running to 9 miles of running has made me realize how possible this half marathon is going to be. I can do it, because I have built myself up to do it. I can do it, because it's just one piece of a bigger goal, to do more endurance races like half marathons and full marathons and triathlons.
It has been hard - it will be hard! - but if it was easy, everyone would do it.
"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt