I like to keep it around where I can see it, always. It’s a constant reminder of something I never thought was possible. Then a crazy dream. And then a reality that I had made for myself. “I’m not a runner”, I would think to myself. But I became one by running. “I could never cover 13.1 miles on foot! I just run for fun!”, I would tell people when asked if I ever thought I’d run a half marathon. “I’m not entirely sure I can go this”, I told my husband as I signed up for my very first race. One with that scary and yet very tantalizing number attached to it. 13.1.
And then I did it. 13.1 miles covered on foot, mostly by running. I crossed the finish line, hugged my husband, had a medal hung around my neck, and while someone put a carton of chocolate milk into my hands I realized that I had become a new person. A person who was capable of dreaming big and doing something that scared the absolute shit out of her. A person who could do hard things. Someone who was determined to put in the hard work and make things happen. A “real” runner.
And then I did it again. And again. And I plan to continue doing it for as long as I possibly can. 13.1. It’s a number I’ve come to love. A number I sometimes hate. A number that’s broken my heart into a million pieces and has made me question my life choices. But I keep coming back. I’m always chasing that 13.1 finish line. Because more than anything it’s a number that’s taught me that I am capable of more than I’ve ever imagined.
Maybe one day I’ll decide to go after a 26.2. Now THAT’S a number that’s a number that’s been put on a pedestal. One of the biggest accomplishments you can achieve as a runner in some people’s minds. A number that I just might be able to learn to love too.
But for now I’m going to stick with my 13.1. It’s a number I’ll always hold near and dear to my heart and will forever be one of my greatest accomplishments.