I wouldn’t call myself a couch potato from any angle, but I wouldn’t call myself an athlete either. I’ve more or less been active my entire life and loved to be part of sports games o other physical activities like hiking and general tom foolery. But somehow running a marathon never featured on my bucket list or on things to do list. In fact, it never even came close to being featured. Nuh uh.
I did have friends who would tell me they were running for so and so marathon or so and so cause but that just never interested me. Such news would go in from one ear and out the next. Even my brother, who I would call an athlete used to run, but I never felt the need to try it out – After all, if he was doing it, in my head he was representing the family so I didn’t really have to participate.
I started working at an NGO helping women to stand on their own two feet – an empowerment if you’d like and there was a half marathon being held around the month of May. There was lots of time – it was still early in the year and the NGO said they would sponsor whoever wanted to run. They’d hand out T-shirts, breakfast and other stuff.
What I never knew was that marathons don’t come cheap. Another buddy found it hilarious that we would pay someone to allow us to run so much. He was of the opinion that if you wanted to run, someone should pay us. I can’t say I disagreed, but having been roped in to run for a cause, I wasn’t going to back out. If I commit to something, I try to excel at it. I knew I wasn’t going to excel in running from having no experience or great stamina for that matter to really come within the top ranking runners.
With professional runners also participating from around the world, this half marathon was no easy run in the park. All I could think was that at least the streets would be cleared out – that’s probably the only time I would ever see the streets of NYC empty of traffic, so in a way I was looking forward to it. I would try to run at least 5 kms everyday and I slowly increased my pace and my route length to prepare my body for the grueling torture it would undergo on the day of the half-marathon.
D-Day arrived and as I pinned my number onto myself, I felt nervous. There was a time limit and I didn’t want to be the person who was the last person on the route which would not only be embarrassing but also draw attention to myself. Well, long story short, I did run, I did finish before the time limit expired – but it wasn’t that great that I can boast about it.
But it was an experience of a lifetime. I don’t see myself running many marathons nor do I see myself as converted of a lover of races, but I do have a deep found respect for those who do – it’s tough but exhilarating at the same time.