"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." Emerson This is the saying on the back of the Red Deer Half Marathon race shirt. What lies within us lets us broaden our horizons on what the possibilities are and gives us the courage to confront them, this is how I decipher that phrase!
I put added pressure on myself to make sure I completed this half marathon by buying my reward once I arrived in Red Deer on Saturday. I had to cross the finish line because the store was not open Sunday to return the items if I was not successful with the task ahead of me and I would be returning to Calgary shortly after the race.
Standing with 1400 of my extended family members at the start, I drifted off. To where, I don’t know (maybe to the finish line)! The gun went off, I jumped, I yelled and then I ran! That’s how I was brought back to reality!
The route was so scenic, I paid particular attention this time. I ran around lakes, up and down hills, over bridges, through tree lined pathways, by upscale neighborhoods and past boat docks and boats. The volunteers were plentiful and of all ages as were the enthusiastic supporters! I heard rock music and country to boot. I heard cow bells, hoots and hollers, and saw numerous motivational home made signs being held by children. All this support came at the most trying times! These folks knew where and when they were needed the most! There was no escaping photographers, they seemed to be around every corner, catching us off guard. If I drank at every water station, I would float to the finish line. What tremendous support and organization from beginning to end. Thank you all for that!
She’s called Mother Nature for a reason, not Father Nature! Today she could not make up her mind. With high humidity and cloud to start, she shortly thereafter sprinkled on us. She offered strong breezes which we accepted. Her skies opened to sunshine to tease us, to heat us, then for a few minutes she poured her rain down on us which we were appreciative off. A strong wind blew the clouds away and presented us with a clear blue sky and by now scorching sun and this is what she followed us to the finish line with. What would Father Nature’s weather report have been?
With about three minutes to go, we were faced with the toughest hill of all! I remember this from five years ago and I hoped the little cheerleaders would be there again. They were not there, probably because they are old enough now to be running the race themselves! But something even better was there, a loud, thundering, heart rattling sound system belting out "Eye of the Tiger"! "Face to face...out in the heat...hanging tough...staying hungry...they stack the odds still we take to the street...for the kill and the skill to survive..."
It was all downhill from there and on to the finish. With a wide open lane, my endorphins hitting the roof, I lengthened my stride and put the pedal to the metal. I jubilantly raised my arms high in the air, smiled big and as I crossed the finish line I thought to myself, " I am the finisher of two half marathons in three weeks! I proved it! It’s possible! Oh dear...what’s next!" Now I need a race where I can wear my well deserved reward!