Mile 11

A picture of me, before the start of the last Long Beach Half Marathon wondering what I had gotten myself into…again.

Most people who know me (in real life) know that I am a runner.  Three years ago, about 8 months after my daughter was born, I began training for my first half marathon.  In October, I finished my 9th half marathon and my first under 2 hours.

While I haven’t been running for the past few weeks because I’ve been sick, this morning I felt a strange and familiar form of tired that only comes on rare occasions:

I felt Mile 11 tired.

My typical half marathon runs are all about the first half of the race.  If I can finish Mile 6 as close to 50 minutes as possible, then it’s just about holding on until the finish line.  At mile 8, I begin to feel tired but still feel strong.  At miles 9 & 10, I feel less strong and more tired, but still feel like, maybe I can break 2 hours.

Then I hit Mile 11.  And generally at Mile 11, I hit a wall.

Mile 11 is the point on the course at which I have exceeded my long run distance (my team generally trains up to a 10-mile long run) and I can no longer deny how tired I feel.  As much as I try to convince myself that there’s only about 20 more minutes to the finish line, I just feel like I’m done.  I try to pep talk myself into remembering what it feels like at the finish. I try to focus on the funny signs and people on the course.  I try to make sure to take water (and now glucose based gels).

But there is no denying that I am tired.

And usually, all there is to do, is to keep going.  To just put one foot in front of the other.  To push through.

It is that point in the semester.  It is week 14, mile 11.  Two more weeks until the finish, several more assignments to assess, multiple meetings to chair and attend, classes to design and revise, holidays to prepare for, Christmas performances to attend, charity events to support, looming deadlines for conference proposals, research and writing I’ve put off all semester. Despite being sick, I’m coming into a tough final stretch having prepared well for a strong finish.

But there is no denying that I am tired.

So, as I round the corner to finish this week, to finish the semester, to finish the year, I greet you, my fellow runners (both real and metaphorical) with love and compassion.  We are almost there.  We will get there, and we’ll get there farther and faster together.  Hang in there.  The finish is around the corner, and if we’re lucky, we’ll get shinies and treats at the end.

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