At mile 10: The gift a half-marathon gave me

At mile 10 of the Magnolia Meltdown yesterday, I had something odd happen: I suddenly felt a surge of energy.

Let me back up for a moment. I started the 13.1-mile half marathon with very tired and sore legs. I’d just had finished my first week of Paul Lacoste’s bootcamp and was eaten up with lots of lactic acid. Add to that, I was running a race I had not trained for. My longest run recently has been 11 miles. I knew I could make it at least that long — but I figured I’d have to gut out the last 2.1. That can be a long, long way when your legs give out (mine did at mile 20 of the Marine Corps Marathon. I ran 6.2 more miles with leg cramps). When the clock began ticking and we crossed the starting line, it was time to see what I had in me.

The first few miles I ran at a leisurely 11-minute mile pace. Then I got to mile 10 and felt good. I started to surge like I had mentioned before. My pace dropped to a 10-minute mile. Then by 11 miles it was at a 9-minute mile. The last .1 I was in a full sprint. I crossed the finish line with a jolt of confidence and joy.

I finished strong.

I’d like to think that was a great metaphor for life. You reach down inside you, gut it out and finish strong. All I know is that I’m thankful I ran the race. My legs feel better today. I met an inspiring cancer survivor while running. I got to visit with a good friend for most of the race and I enjoyed a beautiful day. And I know that whenever I get to the end of something tough, I can push through stronger than when I began.

Yes, I am slow. But I am steady and I don’t quit.

People ask me why I run. That’s as close of a reason as I can tell you. It’s a gut check. And yesterday, mine checked out fine.

About Marshall Ramsey