Why I hated my body during the Corporate Challenge Half Marathon
This is the second year I’ve done the Corporate Challenge Half Marathon. (Last year's recap here.) When I realized it was the weekend after the Running with the Cows half I was training for, it made sense to sign up. I mean, it sounds really badass to run two half-marathons in a row. But really, it’s kind of cheating because I only had to train once.
Anyway, I love this course. It’s hilly but the hills are just how I like them — not too steep, not too many, not too few; Goldilocks style. I’m not a huge fan of flat courses — the hills break it up and make things more interesting. Plus, they work different muscles so I don’t get as tired.
The Part Where I Died
I felt good going into the race. Then I did something I’ve never done before — I popped a Shot Blok.
I didn’t train with these and I’m not a fan of putting sugar and crap in my body for running (have you seen what’s in that Gu stuff???). But I figured one or two wouldn’t hurt to give me a quick boost.
Boy was I wrong.
I got sick. Really sick. I kept having to stop at all the restrooms/porta-potties. Sorry if this is TMI but I was throwing up (nothing but water, really) and also struggling with… other digestive issues.
Anyway the gist is that I was in pain. I felt strong before the race. I felt confident that I was going to get a great time. But then I felt like death from mile 6 to mile 13.1.
There was a point when I spotted an ambulance on the course. It was there for someone else, but I contemplated walking up to it. HELP ME!
I kept going. Someone else needed that more than me. I didn’t want to give up. Yet.
I ended up walking much of the course. And I wish I could say I was OK with it ... that I had a great attitude about it and was easy on myself. I preach self-love and being gentle with yourself but sometimes this stuff is super hard, and this was a real challenge for me.
I was beating myself up. I was SO angry with my body. WHY is my body fighting me on this? WHY today? I hated my body, an all-too-familiar feeling. But this time it wasn’t because of how it looked, it was because it was failing to perform.
When I crossed the finish line, I was relieved it was over and proud that I finished. I didn’t even look at my time, and I still haven't. It didn’t matter. It still doesn't matter. I finished.
I found my husband and said, “Let’s go home.” I didn’t hang out afterward like I usually do after a race. I just wanted to go home.
After talking with my husband, I was able to shake off that hate that entered me during the race. I was able to think more rationally. It’s not my fault my body broke down. It was out of my control. Bodies are bodies. Mine isn’t conspiring against me.
The Lesson: Sometimes Things Suck
The lesson I took away from this is that sometimes things just suck. They do. I always say to “enjoy the journey.” Running isn’t about crossing the finish line, it’s about the journey. Well, in this instance, crossing the finish line wasn’t even fun because I was in pain. So it truly was JUST about the journey.
Sometimes, we can work hard for something and still fail. There are things outside of our control that can stomp on our hard work.
As yogis, our challenge is to accept what is. We must let go of our egos and see things for what they are. We must also be gentle with ourselves, and when we do let negativity control our thoughts and attach to our egos we must forgive ourselves for being human.
I’ve overcome way bigger challenges than a stomachache. But every challenge — big or small — makes us stronger. I’m stronger for finishing this race than I would have been if I crossed the finish line in record-breaking time.
They say slow and steady wins the race. But for the yogi, this isn’t true. Remove the “slow and steady,” for this is judgment. Remove “wins” for this is ego. You’re left with the race. That’s the truth that remains — it’s just the race.