Surprise, surprise. Here I am, poised for my second half marathon this year, and I'm counting on luck as much (or more) than the training to pull me through. It's not that I haven't trained, and it's not that I feel unprepared or under-prepared to run 13.1 miles. It's that I have to run it in under three hours, and I am just not sure I can do it.
I have run two half marathons before. Both times, it took me almost three and a half hours to finish. Granted, they were very different experiences - in Disney World, warm weather, huge crowds - but even on my own while running, I struggle to run a 13-minute mile. But sometimes you just have to challenge yourself and be willing to fail in order to succeed. (Eventually, anyway.)
The scale said 210.4; it also politely asked if I would step off. Am I proud of the uptick in the number (yet again)? No. Does it give me the resolve to do better? Yes. In fact, yesterday I went to bed with a 200-calorie cushion.
For me, inspiration is not about competition, or looking good in a swimsuit, or even (gasp) finisher medals. My inspiration comes from feeling better while doing things. I am struggling with every activity, but not as much as I used to. So, if I keep up the training, I should continue to improve. The first time I ran, I wanted to run a mile. I laced up my shoes, left my apartment, and got about a block away before my heartrate monitor just about slapped me. Now, I can run (very slowly) consistently for miles (with intermittent walk breaks) and stay in a fat-burning heartrate zone. I can "sprint" (which for me means I approach a 12-minute mile) for a half mile without my lungs burning. (After that, all bets are off.) The first time I ran 3.1 miles (the equivalent of a 5K, but it was on a dreadmill) it took me 55 minutes.
I will take the inspiration where I can get it, and the best place I can think of is within myself.