After three months of steady training thanks to an inspiring Coach (Carlos Romero), Sunday, October 13th beckoned me to Long Beach. Nervousness coursed through my body as I walked towards the bib pick up table. Thousands milled about shoreline and ocean blvd. Flashing lights from the cop cars illuminated portions of the street. For a moment, I felt lost, not worthy to be among so many who looked to be so much better shape than me.
I couldn’t help thinking of how I failed to train in New York and gorged on dozens on pizza. I felt swollen, fat, and out of shape. And for a moment, quitting sounded extremely tempting. Yet, throwing away three months of training and letting down my coach embarrassed me, and so I sidled up to Wave 3 of the starting line. Thankfully, the waves were staggered according to average run times to reduce slowing down faster runners, and also so slow runners did not feel pressured to go faster than needed. As the horn, sounded, I began running, struggling with turning on my beat headphones.
I spent half a mile before getting the headphones and spotify to work. Of course, I’d managed to lose one of the soft buds from the headphones, but it didn’t matter. The music began, and I lost myself in the playlist. I was grateful for taking the time to make my own playlist of indian, 90s music and bhangra especially Rocky 4, my all time favorite soundtrack. As I ran, I felt more confident and comfortable. I managed to pass up people, and also got passed up by many, yet what truly supported me was this one gentleman who plodded in front of me, and for 7 miles I followed him, and then I surpassed him and followed two ladie for another 5, and then Carlos surprised me on the last mile by showing up. Thank you to those strangers. My gratitude at that kind gesture is that one that still stays with me. I had never been alone, and I could do this.
It wasn’t a great time, but it wasn’t a bad one either because I finished. And now I am excited for the next step in my running: a full marathon. After that, a triathlon, and if god willing, an iron man in 2021.
Happy Monday. What will you accomplish next?