It's been a rough few weeks, but Saturday meant race day for my November race, and I met it head on in the brightest of fashion.
Saturday was -3C (that's about 26F for you American folks), so I layered up and met up with my friends at the park for the MEC5km.
This is the part where I get honest and vulnerable. About 1.5km into the race, I thought to myself...
Whose stupid idea what this? I am so tired after having been sick for a week and a half, taking care of sick babies, doing school drop off and pick up, and being on all the time. I haven't run since the Scotiabank Waterfront 5km. Oh my god, another hill. I want to go home.
Then I resolved with myself to just burn rubber down the hill and see how I felt. This wasn't my first time on this particular course; it was the same route as the Run for Retina, which I ran at 7 months pregnant. Here I was, 4 moths postpartum, and dreading every hill and pretty much every step.
I saw 10km racers passing me, which didn't exactly help my morale. I reached the water station, and half way point, and the route marshall asked if I was on the 5km or 10km route. When I showed him 5 on my hand, he told me it was the turn around. I said that's the best news I've heard all day. You're amazing! Then the words on Fun rang in my ears
It hurts at first, but it gets better.
I tried to conquer those hills. I tried with every ounce of my frozen being to reach the finish.
I must have been at about the 4.5 km marker when I saw a few racers who were very clearly done. They started clapping and cheering. I passed one gentleman who yelled You're doing great, hunny!! and I just was beaming.
I realized something in that moment, and pushed myself to keep running, keep going, to be present in that moment.
Coming in last really isn't a bad thing at all, and on Saturday it was exactly what I needed. I had so many people at the finish, cheering me on. Smiling with me. Encouraging me. Yelling my name, even.
For me, coming in last meant that I had my community waiting for me to finish. They were there, they were present, and they were cheering.
It's ok to be last, and you know why?
Because it means you finished. Against every thought in your brain, ever sore muscle, ever numb toe...you finished.
And that's amazing.