Finish or Bust

This morning I ran Boston’s Run to Remember 5-mile road race.

This is not the post I had hoped to write.

I had done all of the prep work. Following my Smart Coach plan, eating well, resting and stretching, torturing myself on the foam roller, all to get a mother of a stitch right before mile 3. A stitch so sharp and sudden that it took my breath away and forced me to move to the side and walk it out for a minute or two.

I haven’t had a stitch in years. I forgot that they used to plague newbie cross country runners and made many a training run miserable for a lot of us.

My first thoughts? This cannot be happening. What will everyone think? (You know, all of my fans.) I’m going to DNF. I hope I can at least walk to the finish.

I even thought of taking off my number to avoid embarrassment.

After letting myself have these wild and self-ridiculing thoughts, I took a deep breath and told the DNF to take a hike. I was crossing the finish line as a runner.

My stitch subsided and lingered as a dull ache in my right side. I chugged along, surprised to still be running under 9 minute miles, and realized that this is what being a runner is all about.

Running can hurt. A lot. At times it makes me cry and hate my body or want to throw my sneakers into the back of my closet for eternity.

Then I catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window or hear my name called over the loudspeaker as I plow toward the finish and I remember, OH, this is why I run.

I run because it makes me feel alive.

My body is amazing. My legs pulled me up and over each and every hill this morning even when my brain was screaming at me to stop. My lungs stuck with me through every step and even that aching reminder of a stitch reminded me that I am stronger than I think. Always.

Do I wish I ran faster today? Sure. I’m totally bummed that I didn’t reach my goal. I’m really grateful that I finished, though, and that I finished with a kick that I did not know I had.

In case you’re curious….

Mile 1: 8:07

Mile 2: 8:11 (<– goal pace)

Mile 3: 9:28 (<— STITCH)

Mile 4: 8:51

Mile 5: 8:22

I have a 10K next month and while I don’t want to repeat today’s race, I also know that anything could happen. I can only do my best to prepare and then let the race be what it will be.

I’d say heading to the beach this afternoon is the perfect way to recover. Happy long weekend, y’all!



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