I headed over to Grand Rapids a few weekends ago to watch my friend run the River Bank 25K.  He is not used to someone being interested enough in the road race scene to want to travel the distance to sit for a couple of hours and watch.  What he is learning is that I am interested, however, I am not going to just sit and watch.  There was a 5K and a 10K option for that morning and I figured I could easily pull one of those off.

You all know that I run for medals.  I don’t always need a participation medal when I am finish a long distance race…wait, yes I do.  I knew there was a rather large and fancy medal involved for the 25K, that is 15.5 miles and kind of a big deal!  Maybe I could finish that distance?  “I think I can.”  The seed of “25K finisher possibility” was planted and my mission became to find out if there was a medal for 5K and 10K participants, and if so, how big?

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan 25K finish 2We walked around the expo and picked up his number.  They were still taking registrations for all 3 races however I found out that the 5K and the 10K finished with an “oversized lapel pin”.  I am not sure what size “oversize” is but I did know that the 25K medal, if I could finish it, would be totally worth the trip to the west side of the state, and the seed of “25k finisher possibility” started to grow.

So I sat down to fill out the registration form and since the seed had been planted and was growing, when it got to the place that I had to check the box for which race I was going to run, I checked the 25K box.   I figured there is a chance that I cannot finish that distance.  There is also a really good chance that I COULD finish it and HUGE PAYOFF of getting to sport that medal around my neck for the rest of the day.  “I think I can.”  I have run a marathon, many half-marathons (13.1 miles) including one last fall, however the longest distance I had recently run was only 6 miles.

I was nervous.  I was very, very nervous.  My friend and I started the race together and I told him “I am pretty sure I am in over my head right now.”  He looked over at me and said “I bet you will surprise yourself.  See you at the finish line.”

So I started.   “I think I can.”

And I kept going.   “I think I can.”

And going.  “I think I can.”

And going.   “I think I can.”

The miles were ticking down.  The 11-minute-mile pacers passed me at mile 8.  From that point I was determined not to let the 12-minute-mile pacers pass me no matter what.

At mile 12, just when I thought I couldn’t go on anymore, I saw a woman running with a metal stick in her hand.  When I looked closer, I realized it was the 12-minute-mile pacing group.  They were not going to pass me.  I would run with them but they are not passing me.  That is just the simple facts here, they are not passing me.  “I think I can.”Chiropractor Fenton Micighan 25K finish 1

I allowed my strides to be determined by the woman holding that sign.  She was one of the most excited and upbeat people I had seen all day and I was so very grateful for her enthusiasm.  I needed it.

If you have ever run that particular race, it finishes in the downtown area with an uphill section leading to the finish line.  There are moments in all of my long distance running that I find myself in tears of gratitude just for the simple fact that my body allows me to do something like that.  I got to that hill and that tears-of-gratitude point all at the same time and I began to hyperventilate.  I am running and training almost everyday, but was in awe and disbelief that I could run 15.5 miles with so little long-distance training (this is not something I recommend) and feel good.  The hyperventilation forced me to slow my pace and lose that 12 minute group but I could see the word “finish” stretched across the street so I just let go.  “I can.”

Finishing that race is a really proud moment in my life.  Overcoming the limitations of what I think I can’t do is a big deal to me and is what makes life so rich.  We have to brush up against our limitations in order to really push them and having those 2 phrases “I bet you will surprise yourself.” and “See you at the finish line.” are just what I needed to make that happen that day.

I want to leave you with a question…What limitations have you put on yourself and have you ever tested to see if they are accurate?

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”  -Henry Ford

I think I can.




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