Paris. Beautiful, lovely Paris. I adore everything about this city – the charming buildings, the heavy traffic, the rich history, the bustling residents, the effortless fashion, and even the droves of annoying tourists. I have dreamed about the day I would be able to run these streets and feel my own painful history fall behind me as I pushed past each mile. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
I bet you thought I would never get around to writing about this marathon. Well, it took me only three months, but here you go.
Mileage was significantly less the week leading up to the race allowing my legs and body to repair and recover in preparation for the race. From what I understand, I was supposed to be mentally preparing for my race, as well as resting as much as possible. Well, neither really happened. Being a stay-at-home mom to two minis doesn’t provide a whole lot of downtime. I did my best to stay off my feet as much as possible and get eight hours of sleep at night, but nervous energy and anxiety made it difficult for me to prepare mentally. Honestly, I found myself wanting to eat everything in sight as a way to take my mind off my looming fate at the end of the week. I eat when I am nervous. I need to reprogram how I process anxiety, I think.
There have been significant life experiences and opportunities that I have passed up in my life because conditions were not what I considered “perfect”. I am a serious perfectionist if you haven’t figured this out already. Consequently, time has been lost, education put aside, trips untaken, goals left unachieved (or unattempted), etc. One example of goals unattempted is running the Paris Marathon.
Running Paris has been a dream of mine for the past 14ish years (read more about this here), but I told myself that I did not deserve to run it unless I was a “legit” runner. (Just for clarification, a sub 3:30 marathon was my qualification for being a “legit” runner. I know. Stupid.) Well, after my lymphedema diagnosis, I thought that being a runner, let alone a “legit” runner, was absolutely out of the question for me; so, my Paris dream was put aside and never considered again… until three years ago.
Fast forward to present day. The opportunity presented itself last fall for us to plan a trip to Paris, and for me to register for the Paris Marathon on April 3rd. Obviously I was aware that my marathon time wouldn’t be anywhere near the 3:30 mark, and I actually thought about passing up the opportunity because I felt like I hadn’t earned Paris yet. Well, after talking with J and realizing how stupid it was for me to consider myself unworthy to run it when I had worked so hard to get to where I am, I decided to take the plunge. This trip is my reward for staying the course, putting in the time to train, and pushing insecurities and doubts aside. I absolutely deserve this. Now, I get to meet about 60,000 other runners at the Arc de Triomphe in less than three weeks to run 26.2 miles.
I have been keeping this news on the down-low since September because I didn’t want it to overshadow the importance of running the Phoenix Marathon. But now that Phoenix is over, I don’t mind sharing my excitement. It seems crazy that I am actually going to be doing what I have been dreaming about for the past decade.
The lesson for me: Stop waiting until conditions are “perfect”! Very rarely will conditions be perfect. Have courage, make time, work hard, be dedicated, and let go of the idea of “perfection”. It only robs you of happiness in the present. Hopefully, you all will learn from my mistake and not lose years wishing that you could do something that you really wanted to do.
P.S. I promise to give a recap of my first marathon soon. I apologize for not being the best with race recaps, especially my most significant race to date – the Phoenix Marathon. I will do my best to share my experience with you before leaving for Paris.
I accomplish so much more when I have support from loved ones, friends and my community. As I reflect on all of my accomplishments in life, I have noticed a common factor – I had at least one person backing me up, supporting me, and pushing me.