After months of training, the day of my half marathon had arrived.
I'm not quite sure how to describe my exact emotions but I was beyond excited. A long time ago, I wrote a goal list of things to do with my life like graduate from college, get married, watch all the Harry Potter movies without a break -- and run a half marathon.
Yet I never really thought I could do the race. I didn't think I was brave enough, strong enough or determined enough. Well, I guess it's safe to say I proved myself wrong.
The April morning dawned dreary and rainy. There were more than 8,000 people at the starting line and the air was buzzing with anticipation. The moment had finally come.
I had trained for this; eaten the right foods, got a good night's sleep, was thinking positive thoughts. I told myself, "Lynette, you have done all you could have possibly done to run this marathon. You have prepared both your body and your mind -- now go run."
And I did.
The Salt Lake Half Marathon starts off downhill and then levels out. The trick is to pace yourself. At first you feel great and want to break free and run. Don't. No matter how fast you run the first 5 miles, you've still got 8.1 more to go.
Miles 6 to 9 were the hardest. I had been running for a steady hour, I had passed my running partners and the route was flat and never ending. My aunt had told me when you get tired to look at the other runners and think, "If they can keep going so can I." That is definitely easier said than done.
I came upon a much-needed aid station, grabbed a cup of Powerade and asked a volunteer what mile we were on. "Mile 11!" he shouted. Yes! Only 2.1 miles left, I can totally do this. I ran with renewed energy, and then I saw the next marker ... Mile 9! Everything inside of me sank. After thinking I only had 2 miles left, I now had 4! Yet somehow, I persisted.
The last mile contained the only hill of the race. It was a gradual incline, but I gave in and walked. Realizing what I was doing, I began to run again. "I am only a mile away from finishing my first half marathon, am I really going to stop now?"
The energy during the last mile was incredible; people I didn't even know were holding up signs and cheering. I sprinted for all I was worth to that finish line. I pumped my fists in the air and shouted my time -- 2:13:44.
I grabbed the lady's arm who gave me my water and told her, "I just ran a half marathon!"
"Yes, you did -- good job," she smiled back at me.
I laughed and yelled, "Fantastic job!"
I was happy and proud, proud of myself and of those around me. Running this race represents all the other things I've always wanted to do in my life. I proved to myself I can really do anything I set my mind to. I did something that I never thought I would do, and I did it well.
Lynette Randall is a junior at Clearfield High. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.