Friday, April 1, 2016

Rising above "demons and struggles"; my first half-marathon

March 20, 2016; I have finished my first half-marathon at EDP Meia-Maratona de Lisboa.

Now, wasn't I suppose to celebrate that right away? Yes, I was. However, I took me some time to seat down, get this post ready to publish and share.

The last two weeks I had some particularly rough times, both emotionally and physically.  My anxiety has been high and the physical symptoms hard to ignore on such a level that by March 16 it would have been very easy for me to cancel running this event.  But I didn’t.

Somehow, I was able to bounce back from adversity and disappointment - and this running event became a sort of an act of defiance against my demons and struggles.
YES, I did finish this race and completed my first half-marathon.
YES, I did overcome all the fears and all the pain that stroke me along the 21K running - and that tells me that I am stronger than all that afflicts me. 

It also tells me that one does not have to be born with mental toughness. Mental toughness can be acquired - and one does not have to go through a life-threatening experience to gain it because mental toughness can be acquired by learning.
The more you try, the more you learn.
The more you learn, the more mental toughness you gain.

And the more mental tough you are, the more resilient you become with stronger ability to focus when facing unexpected circumstances. You learn not to avoid situations but instead to address them.  My half-marathon experience is a statement of truth for this; when reaching 14K, I felt dead tired, hurting, crying and wanting to quit.  I stopped running but kept walking, trying to focus on moving forward. "Another step, just keep moving" I constantly repeated to myself. 
I gathered my strength and adjusted my pace, which gave me the ability to keep moving forward. 
Suffering, I reached the 17K milestone and there I finally heard my inner voice saying - “You can do this." - There it was; faith and trust in myself.  I could (again) believe in me, even when there was no one close by to boost my confidence.  And when running the final 4K, I was really enjoying the fact that every step, even full of pain, was bringing me closer to my goal.
The end of this story for me is that glory does not have to be noticed by others. 
My own glory on this half-marathon was to kept moving my feet, against pain, against fear, against frustrations... especially, against the idea that I would not be able to rise above and finish.