Last week I finished a 10K and a half marathon. 19.3 miles in less than 36 hours with a broken foot. A fractured third metatarsal to be specific. I believe I re-broke it around mile 6 of the half marathon, when I started jogging to stay ahead of the people in last. I know for sure (judging by the pain) it was re-broken during a sprint at mile 9 and again at mile 11 to stay ahead of the sweepers (the people who take you off the course because you are not going fast enough)…I was about 90 seconds from my worst nightmare, being taken off the course because I was too slow. I just could not limp along fast enough. So I ground my teeth and I sprinted.
And I finished that half marathon.
But I wasn’t proud of it.
Nope. I was not proud. I berated myself for being so stubborn that I would limp 19.3 miles, reinjuring my foot and not making the right decision, which was to quit. I should have quit. I had half a dozen blisters, shin pain, knee pain…all ramifications of limping for almost twenty miles. I had a scary moment later when I was laying on the bathroom floor, overcome with nausea from the pain. My perseverance had made me literally sick. An even scarier moment later when discussing the final hours of the race with my fellow runners and realizing just how out of my mind I was – I never realized it was hot. Never for one minute did I feel the heat or sun that everyone else was saying tormented them in the final miles. I don’t remember ever even thinking it was hot. And not because it wasn’t hot. So at the end of the weekend, I was mostly disappointed in myself for lacking the wisdom to know when to stop.
And here we are, a week later, and I’m ready to find some of the positives in this poor choice I made. I am impressed with my tenacity. I am grateful to my dedication to training and cross training that kept me in shape (and many thanks to my friend Brian for his training ideas and rehab advice) enough to even walk 19 miles. I am no longer afraid of a marathon – I mean, I’m not signing up tomorrow…but I truly feel like if I could finish those races, I can do anything.
And thus the moral of this story: Grit. In psychology, grit is “a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective.” It’s courage in the face of adversity. Resolve. Backbone. Pluck. Bravery. Spirit.
Grit is an awesome attribute to have. And I’ve got it.
And I know what that sounds like – it sounds like I’m bragging, and maybe I am? Or maybe I just have no problem owning both the positives and negatives of who I am. There is power in knowing your own strengths. And your own flaws. Grit is a double-edged sword that it took me until this weekend to see just how deep it can cut.
So my many thanks to Kate and Sarah Beth for their support and strength, but especially thanks for pushing me around in a wheelchair for a few days. And I am so grateful to Josh, family, and friends who checked in on me and supported me throughout. It was a battle, and I survived, leaving with something much more precious than these medals – lessons learned.
Now its time to put my feet up and rest and really heal – because I’m coming for you Glass Slipper Challenge 2017…and I’m going to run.
Have you ever finished something and thought “I should have quit”?
Tell me about it in the comments!