The NYC Marathon was this past Sunday drawing tens of thousands of runners, including the famous. Actress Katie Holmes finished in 5:29:58, just a bit slower than the time it takes the average female marathoner to complete 26.2 miles. Lance Armstrong also ran and came in at 2:46:43. That's about an hour and 46 minutes faster than the the average male finisher. Good grief that's fast. I know, it's Lance Armstrong, but still. Wow. I hope to come in somewhere between these two times when I run my first marathon. And though that's a long way off (2009?) I believe I will be able to do it.
I began running 164 days ago, and this has been a consistently surprising and encouraging experience. My short run is now 5 miles, my long run is over 7 miles. I have a long way to go to meet all of my goals, but I am now confident that I will reach them. With all of the changes I am experiencing (physically and mentally) this is the most dramatic - confidence in what I can do physically. Dropping 5 inches around the waist (so far) is nice, losing 30 lbs feels great, but the optimism is much more critical to my long term running.
I have never been an athlete. Never competed, or even participated in school sports growing up. And cardio, running specifically, was something I loathed. So when I started running over 5 months ago I had little confidence in how things would progress, and every small accomplishment was a big surprise. While my progress still excites/encourages, it no longer surprises me. On my running blog I explained that I'm now a believer! I no longer wonder if I can do these things, only when they will happen. And while this optimism encourages me to try harder, it is not merely belief in self. This optimism is more of a combination of confidence in the way God has designed the human body (to run), and thankfulness for leading me to do this.