I spent the majority of the end of 2013 running. I set the lofty goal of running my third half marathon after nearly giving up my running habit.
I started seriously running again one day in October of 2013, realizing how much I'd lost in speed. But also how much I'd gained in so many other aspects of my life.
Weekends were spent juggling work and school and then going out for a long run--the solitude and distance often making me feel as though I might go crazy.
In December I visited home and continued my running up the ridiculously steep hills of northeast Tennessee. The temperatures were often less than desirable, but there was the thrill of running in a new place.
And then the day came in January. I drove to Phoenix and ran my third half marathon, somehow slashing my projected time by 30 minutes.
I didn't PR and that wasn't even my expectation. I simply crossed the finish line with The Feeling.
The Feeling? In high school, I was in colorguard and winterguard. For the 97% of you that have no idea what that means, we were the girls (and occasional boys) that spun flags, rifles, and sabers during the marching band show in the fall. In the spring season we also performed our own show at various competitions.
During my freshman year of high school marching band, we kicked ass. We placed first and best in show in nearly every competition. For the first time ever, we were invited to go to USSBA National Championships in Maryland. We fundraised thousands of dollars in the span of two weeks, performing shows, appearing in the newspaper, and on our local news channel.
Side Note: The quality of this video is lacking, but it's from 2006.
I remember walking out onto the field that day. We were in the Baltimore Ravens stadium (huge was an incredible understatement compared to our high school football field). Thousand of adoring band parents, friends, and marching band junkies sat in the seats cheering us on. We played and spun our hearts out, and a feeling of absolute bliss and perfection came over me. It was as though I was filled with thousands of butterflies, all taking flight. I had goose bumps over my entire body as I moved through the familiar motions. The adrenaline coursed through my veins and I felt like I was flying.
I remember thinking there is nothing better than this moment.
Two years later, I went to WGI World Championships with my winterguard. The vibe was different because winterguard is an indoor sport, unlike colorguard. But the same feeling filled my body as I did my solo, all eyes on me.
In case you're interested, I'm on the left most side in the very beginning and the first one out with the flag around 1:30.
That is how I felt when I crossed that finish line nearly two weeks ago. It didn't matter that I didn't PR. It didn't matter that I added almost 30 minutes to my fastest time. It didn't matter that I was hot and sweaty and had terrible chafing (too much?).
I felt The Feeling once again, and that was all that mattered.