When Last Place Is a Win

So, our half-marathon yesterday.

As I wrote yesterday, circumstances brought us to the big day underprepared. Our response was to listen to our bodies, run as much as we could, and walk the rest.

The result was we finished hand-in-hand, proudly running across the finish line, solidly in last place.

At the finish

At the finish

It was no failure: we consider it an unqualified success because we met every single one of our goals for the day.

  • Honor our mentor Steve Zegree by pushing ourselves to achieve something beyond our reach, particularly in his beloved sport of running.
  • Use this opportunity to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, in honor of both Steve and my grandfather. (The tally stands at $850 so far.)
  • Show up on race day. (Beating the inner voice saying we weren’t ready.)
  • Start the race with confidence.
  • Avoid major injury during the race.
  • Finish the race.

We crossed off every one of these goals; the final time couldn’t matter less to us.

Running is a sport that survives on personal challenges unrelated to the time clock – I couldn’t count how many of the 48 other runners in the race cheered us on along the way, to say nothing of the many volunteers along the race course. They understood immediately what we were doing and helped give us the strength to continue.

The finisher’s medal handed to us at the finish line stayed around my neck most of the day – proof that I had met my final goal.

Will I run another long race? I don’t know – my body is screaming at me today – but I know that when I do, I will use the lessons of the last several months in preparation, and I will keep the same attitude towards my goals in the race.