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What’s in a minute?



I ran my third half marathon this past Sunday. I was prepared, but not enough, so I was nervous. I was also nervous because I always feel like I have something to prove. When I say out loud, I am going to do something before I do it, it’s like I’ve challenged myself. And I tell others to keep me accountable. This year was different though. I am dating someone new who is an avid runner and who I wouldn’t allow to run the half with me, due to my fear of not doing well, of feeling pressured, of failing, of him seeing me not be strong. I was invited to move up to an earlier start time, to start the run with two dear friends, who are also seasoned marathoners. And by seasoned, I mean ultra-runners, like they don’t just do halves, they do full marathons, Boston even, 50 milers and multiple 100 milers under one’s laces.


I was touched they invited me, but at that moment…I felt the pressure again, not because any one other than myself put the pressure on me.


My body ached after mile 6, I mean really ached. I saw my sister, brother in law and niece surprise me and yell and cheer so loudly that I got a burst of energy. Not long after seeing them, I saw my boyfriend jumping up and down as I passed, and my friend yelled my name on the microphone and it filled me with a jolt of joy.

But as soon as I passed, as soon as I was no longer in their sight lines, my legs gave in to walking. This happened a few more times. I kept thinking, is it my legs or is it my mind? But I gave in... So much that I added it up, and I think I walked nearly 2 miles in total on a 13.1-mile course. I mean, really, not bad. But man, did I beat myself up. I felt like a disappointment to myself. I felt like I disappointed those that came out to cheer me on.


And when I decided to slow down one last time before I hit that 12-mile marker and then heard my name yelled out one more time from the side of the road. I felt busted but elated. I mean, how loved can one person feel that 5 people came out in 40-degree weather to surprise her, cheer on their friend, sister, aunt, girlfriend. Not to mention the thousands of other spectators who came out to cheer, chant, sing and yell for their friends, family and strangers going by.


And yes, I felt busted because I wasn’t going to pretend that I walked part of it, but I didn’t want anyone to have witnessed it. The ultra-runners who I started with, came by my side, and cheered “you’ve got this” and on to the finish line we went, together. No difference between us. No separation in skill or tenacity. We finished.


When I looked at my time, I added 1 minute to what I ran in 2021 where I didn’t walk at all. 1 minute of time added. And I spent the better part of 30 minutes beating myself up. And I thought, it took my friends and family no less than 30 minutes to drive and park and even longer to wait in the cold, just to wish me well and yell and cheer. And I took the time that they took to wallow. When all it was, was just one minute.


So, the purpose of this story? Think about what one minute is worth to you. Takes one minute to reach out. One minute to forgive. One minute to breathe. One minute to rest.


If you have just one minute to do or say or be…what would you do or say or be?


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