At 8 a.m. yesterday, I stepped up to the starting line of my second half marathon. With Austin, my fiance, by my side, I was determined to cross the finish line with a smile on my face. After training consistently since my first half marathon in late May, I was stopped suddenly in my tracks three weeks ago with knee, hip and lower-back pain. For the remainder of my “training,” I was running a mere 2 to 3 miles per day. I felt like my body was letting me down, and my mental strength was giving way to doubts and disappointment. A few days before the race, I was toying with the idea of dropping out. I knew if I completed the half, I would be in miserable pain. I also knew it would be tough to beat my previous time; being someone who is constantly trying to challenge and better myself, this was a sad realization for me.
Two days before the race, Austin asked me an honest, simple question. “Why don’t you want to do this?” After sharing my worries and disappoint, he reminded me that together, step-by-step, we would go the 13.1 miles together. Every moment, minute and mile, he would be by my side, encouraging and loving me. After mile two, my hips became heavy and my lower-back throbbed, but I continued on because of Austin. When I wanted to quit, my parents were there cheering and ringing their cowbells loud as can be. I didn’t want them to see me struggle so I pushed on.
It was the toughest 13.1 miles for me, but the sense of accomplishment I feel today with ice on my legs and a heating pad on my back is all worth it. I was able to stand up to my doubts with the support of my loved ones. This time last year, living in Houston and far from family, I would not have been able to conquer my fears. I would have crumbled under the pressure of failing; letting my anxiety take first place. Today and every day, I am thankful for my parents, who are always willing to go the extra miles to support me, and to be engaged to a man who loves me unconditionally and will gladly take on the journey of life and marriage with me step-by-step, hand-in-hand.