The emotions of racing an endurance event

The half marathon I have been training for is 3 days away and I am starting to get emotional, nervous, anxious….actually all of the above. Yesterday I went for a 3-mile run at Aviation track. Since this is my last week of training I am in taper mode and taking it easy to allow my muscles to recover and prepare for the long distance race. As I was running, Beyonce, Peter Gabriel and some Israeli tunes playing on my iPod, my mind started to wander in a million different directions as it usually does when I am running alone. I don’t know if it was the culmination of everything I have been working towards and the realization that it is coming to an end, or nerves, but I started to feel incredibly emotional about the race. Initially I was overcome with emotion as I envisioned myself actually running the race and pictured my husband and kids waiting for me at the end. I imagined myself crossing the finish line with crowds of strangers cheering me on and what it will feel like to accomplish this goal. I got teary picturing the faces of my two little ones watching their mommy accomplish a life long goal. The thought of them cheering me on and knowing that I am setting such a great example for them was quite poignant. Soon after, this visualization started playing out in my head as if I was already there. I could feel the adrenalin and excitement and then an overwhelming sense of pride. My pace began to quicken and the flood gates opened, tears rolling down my cheeks. I let these emotions continue to fuel me even as I began to wonder why I was getting so emotional. Was it really just the thought of actually running this race that was making me weep? At this point some of the other runners at the track started to glance in my direction as my sobs continued. Thank goodness they were ensconced in their own iPod trances and weren’t quite paying attention. I continued my run and tried to delve deeper into why the catharsis was taking place at this particular moment. It came to me in the final stretch. I began to think about the cause behind this training experience, the original reason I got involved with this – the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I have some deep-seeded anxiety surrounding cancer. Thanks to the generosity and support of my friends and family I raised over $2500 for this cause. Not only has this allowed me to participate in the physical part of this, but it has helped me overcome some of my fear and anxiety. Take that cancer! In Judaism, there is a saying that if you save one life, you have saved an entire generation. I think it is that knowledge – that I am contributing to research that will save lives, that I am maybe helping to free one family of the concerns of prescription co-pays so that they can focus on healing, that maybe one child will not have to lose his mommy, or that a parent will not have to suffer the greatest loss known to a parent – that sparked the outpour of emotion. With every step I take this Sunday, I will be running for the survival of an entire generation. I will cherish this experience and feel grateful for my own beautiful family, the friends and family that have supported me, their health and the strong and healthy body I have been blessed with that will take me across that finish line.

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