Half Marathon Confessions: What Made Me Reflect on Every Mile!

running the whole thing

Did You Run the Whole Thing? I gasped and took a deep breath. What an odd first question to ask someone who just told you they ran a half marathon. No, how was it? Did you have fun? Not even a, why? Any of them is a valid question. I was just about to ask how many times she ran 13.1 miles when all the memories of that day came flooding back to me, and just like that, I was humbled—again.

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running1 Half Marathon Confessions: What Made Me Reflect on Every Mile!

Did You Run the Whole Thing?

I don’t understand people who look for ways to knock someone down. Especially when they called themselves your friend for so many years. But this was the beginning of the end of a toxic friendship. One where she lived to give me her version of a reality check on my life’s pursuits.

I have no earthly idea why it mattered– to her. Whether I ran the whole way or not. I got up that morning and physically conveyed my body 13.1 miles in the early morning hours. Why wasn’t she just proud of the attempt?

Running a Half Marathon in Paris

Préparez-vous, prêts, partez! The starter pistol exploded, exciting the slow-moving millipede of 90,000 sneaker-clad feet down the Route de la Pyramide. A kilometer later, the field had thinned out, and we began to jog as the sun peeked out from the clouds. Five kilometers into the course, we ran past the gutters littered with discarded orange rain ponchos.

The first 14 kilometers were filled with music on just about every corner. The beautiful wide boulevards of Paris were lined with spectators and street performers. The tempo was steady. I was really having fun, but I soon regretted running past the water station at km 5.

Reflecting on My First Time as a Podcast Guest

Running The Hills

Then it happened, I turned the corner and was face to face with my worst enemy—a hill. I began the slow, tedious climb upwards. My knees buckled and I broke down and started to walk. From that point on, we were pretty much on our own. We would never see the tail end of the millipede again.

At km 16, the streets were re-opened to traffic. We had missed the 3-hour cut-off. I had no idea we had just passed by the beautiful Place de la Bastille. At that point, I probably wouldn’t have seen the Eiffel Tower either.

We arrived at km 17 just as the race staff was heaving the large black and white mile markers into the back of a nondescript black van. One of the staff dug into a cooler and tossed us two water bottles. It was noon and the sidewalks were packed with shoppers and tourists. The aroma of fresh bread tempted me. The air was also full of curiosity for our misplaced marathon. We weaved in and out of the bustle of people—bibs visibly displayed—my confidence destroyed.

2 Kilometers to Go 

I can’t describe how happy I was at km 19. We’d navigated the unmarked route back to the park where I received an energy boost from the runners who had just finished. I tried to funnel their energy into my feet. Two kilometers to go and I would be able to stop this farce.

Less than 1 km and I could see the balloon-clad finish line swaying in the light breeze. Steven ran backward, challenging me to finish strong. I picked up the pace even though every muscle from my neck to my ankles ached. All I had left was the desire to stop running and that was enough to dig deep and sprint across the finish line as fast as possible.

The Finish Line

I expected to see Steven by my side, but when I turned around he was standing behind me with a big smile across his face. Great job and keep moving, he said after giving me a hug. I shook my head and wiped away the tears. Some things will never change.

I wondered whether I could finish—and now I know. I ran, jogged and walked it; finishing 4 hours from beginning to end. I’d find out later, due to the staggered starts, that the winner had finished and began carbo-loading before I’d taken my first step. When I show people my finisher’s medal they have no idea I had to write to race officials to get it since the only thing greeting us at the finish was old confetti.

I smiled and politely said no, I didn’t, and it was amazing!!

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