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The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.

Quote by John Bingham

Let’s just skip the whole “Sorry I haven’t written in forever!” crap and get right to the meat of this post. Today, history was made. I, Bethany Weathers, willingly participated in a 5K run/walk to benefit Susan G. Komen breast cancer research.

For those of you that haven’t known me long (i.e. less than two years), this may not seem like a big deal. But for those that knew me back in high school/early college, this is HUGE.

Why?

fig. 1

This was me on my senior trip. It was taken in Colorado, about a quarter mile up a mile long trail. It took me nearly an hour to reach the top of the trail because it was too hard for me to walk (yes, walk) up the trail. When I reached the end, it took me so long to catch my breath I had to sit down and missed playing with my friends.

Gym was by far my worst subject in high school. It was co-ed (which never helps the fragile self esteem of any high school girl), and both of the gym teachers were avid runners. Because of this, they would make us run a lot. I would refuse. Seriously. I would walk the mile every year. When we had to run laps around the gym or soccer field I would walk them and make everyone wait for me to finish. Countless times my teachers would threaten to fail me if I didn’t run, and my reply would be the same: “Go on a fail me, because I’m not running.”

But really.

When I got to college, things didn’t really get any better.

 

fig. 2

That’s me at the Eric Hutchinson concert my freshman year. To be honest I wasn’t even sure I wanted to put that photo in this post because it is quite possibly the worst picture of me. But it needed to be added in order to fully grasp the gravity of today. When I got to college, I couldn’t care less about the amazing rec we have, or the fact that there were Tiger X classes. Just walking to class was enough of a work out for me. I had shin splints the first few weeks at college because I wasn’t used to walking so much. Why would I go work out? People would look at me, and I didn’t want them to see how unfit I was (although you wouldn’t need to go to the gym to figure that out; it’s pretty easy to see from that picture that I was NOT doing myself any favors).

End of sophomore year, something changed. I changed. I got fed up with hating myself and I decided I would do something about it. I started small. I did the elliptical for 15-20 minutes at the lowest resistance level possible. I (reluctantly) joined my friends when they went to zumba classes, and would trip and stumble my way (huffing and puffing) through the routines. But still I was too afraid to run.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. For years I was told that I was built like a runner: tall, long legs. But something inside me held me back. I wished I could be like those girls I’d see running past my dorm or on the treadmills next to me at the rec.

So finally, I decided if I really wanted to learn to run, I’d have to do something about it. I downloaded a podcast to help you build up to running for 30 minutes straight. The first day, I ran for one minute intervals with two minutes walking in between. I thought I was going to die.

I didn’t even have the energy to raise my arm like that, so this squirrel is even better off than I was.

But with the help and encouragement of my friends, I started to get better. Then I got Lyme Disease (which you can read all about here), and I had to quit running, despite the fact that I was actually starting to enjoy it. As soon as I got the okay from my doctor to resume physical activity, I was back on the running track.

Which leads me to this morning. After some minor coercing I managed to convince my roommate Rae to run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. We began to train for it as often as we could, and we got to the point where we were getting pretty good. Still though, I had never run an actual race before and I was terrified out of my mind. Sure, I knew I could run the 3.1 miles; I’d done it many times before in work outs. But I’d never done it in a race with tons of other people trying to get around me (because, let’s face it, I’m still not very fast). I knew I’d have Rae running with me, but I needed more reassurance than that.

Cue God.

I wrote Hebrews 12:1 on my hand so every time I looked down I would see it and be encouraged. The verse says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

It didn’t cure all the nerves, but it definitely helped. As we walked around the sponsor booths before the race getting as many free goodies as we could, the atmosphere began to calm me and soon I was getting excited to run with all the people around me.

Finally, we were told to line up at the start line. Rae and I got a spot towards the middle of the un-timed runners. We picked our playlists, limbered up, and took off at the sound of the announcer. We made our way around the people who were walking and found a spot to run. We maintained a (relatively) steady pace the entire race. When we came into the stadium  and saw the finish line, we took off and gave it all we had. The Mizzou Golden Girls (who consequently wore pink) and breast cancer survivors cheering me on made me feel like I could finish, and I did. We had made it. I had done it. I ran a 5k, something that only a few short years ago I would have thought impossible.

After much high-fiving and bro-hoofing, Rae and I asked a random lady to take our picture.

Victory.

We beat our best time by 2:30. The euphoria surrounding me was amazing.

So yeah, I’m probably going to talk about this for a while. But when I think about how far I’ve come, I can’t help but feel proud. I know I still have a long way to go, but I know I can do it. It won’t be easy, but if it were the payoff wouldn’t be as great.

Next goal:

Disney Princess Half Marathon in Walt Disney World.

Okay, maybe just another 5k first, but one day, I am running the Princess Half Marathon, because I know I am capable of doing it.

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