Saturday morning, I walked in a 5K "fun run".
Let me back up. Over the summer I've been trying to get fit. Eating right, exercise. I have had some success and must admit that I was getting a little cocky. Plus, I had pneumonia (yes, again) in the begining of August, which set me back a ways)
I figured I was in good shape to keep up during the race. The last time I walked a 5K I was pushing stroller, my "friends" left me behind and the ambulance followed me in. I was humiliated and vowed never to walk in one of those wretched things again.
But this summer, I decided I needed a way to celebrate my new found fitness and attitude. I had planned on a hike somewhere, but the pneumonia put a quick stop to that. My lungs still aren't ready for much change in elevation.
Initially I signed up for the Womens Fitness Challenge in Boise. There will be a lot of people there and I'm walking with my girls, so it shouldn't be too bad, I figured. Then a friend mentioned this little fun run in Twin Falls to me. I figured, "What the hell?".
Surely, I was in good enough shape to not come in last. Again.
So Saturday morning I made my way down to Twin Falls, about a 30 mile drive. Two of my friends were running in it. My friend that was going to walk with me had just been laid off, so I figured she would't make it. I was going to walk by myself. There were 31 runners/walkers in teh 5K. I figured I'd come in the bottom five and that was ok. Just not last.
I don't know what it was important to me -- maybe I just expected everyone to assume I'd come in last and I wanted to prove them wrong.
Within a few feet of starting it was clear -- I was going to be last -- and last by a long way. I kept telling myself everyone else would get tired and I could probably take them on the back stretch. But I was fooling myself and I knew it.
I started to wimper, then cry, then sob.
I heard all the voices in my head: "You shouldn't have even started." "Just walk back to the car, drive away and don't look back" "Runners are mean, you don't belong here." "You are too fat to be out here, people are laughing at you. You're making a fool of yourself."
I couldn't breathe. I could barely walk.
In the background of the voices, I could hear my own voice. She was quiet at first--meekly trying to get above the fray. But with each step I took she, I, got a little stronger. I could hear her message: "It's not about where you place in the race, it's about finishing." "Just keep walking. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks." "Stand up straight, breathe! Get a hold of yourself. You're miles ahead of all those who did't even start the race."
By the half way point, I had successfully drowned out the other voices. I only heard my own voice, cheering me on. Soon, I could hear the voices of others I knew would be there, if not in person, spiritually, to support me--My friends, some members of my family. The negative tapes, that tend to play when I'm out of my comfort zone were dead--trampled by my own strength and the support of my personal cheering section.
I finished that walk. Two of my newest friends had stuck around to take pictures and cheer me through the tape. I did come in last with a time of 61.34.
I felt great that I'd finished the race. Great I'd taken a little bit of time off my usual walk. The greater victory was being able to hear my own voice and those of the people who truly love me instead of the voices that try to keep me from achieving my dreams.
Today, I challenge you to hear your own voice and to create your own cheering section. I'll be the one sitting in the front row waving your flag and reminding you that you can do anything!