I set out on my eleven mile journey today, after I cast my vote, in the misty air as the sun set over Lake Erie.
No one, no sounds, but me and the leaves and the mist as the occasional car drove by.
I thought about lots of things--I always do when I run. I thought about how some runners run to get away from things, and some run to get somewhere.
I think I used to be a runner to get away from things, but tonight I finally realized that I have become one of the runners that is running towards something new.
If there is one thing that Ironman did to me, it made me realize that.
For some reason, since that day, I haven't had many doubts, despite many aspects of my life in transition right now. I haven't had as much of the fear in my head that I used to have often: that I wasn't good enough, fast enough, strong enough. I think that's why that night when I ran through the finisher's chute in the dark, misty rain, I didn't cry. I laughed.
It wasn't anything like I thought it would be in the daydreams I had on the countless hours on my trainer, in the pool, and on the trails.
I crossed that line and I remembered what it was like to run without fear, play without doubt, be the little girl that beat all the boys in the pool, the little girl who screamed as she did backflips off the high bar on the playground. Who, when she heard "Red rover, red rover, let Sara come over," squealed and sprinted full speed ahead at the line of arms waiting to stop her and dove right at them, breaking through every time.
I thought about how that day has changed me, and how it has changed me in ways I never really thought it would and in ways that I am sure I don't even fully understand yet. And I listened to the sound of my breathing and saw the shadow of the leaves glistening on the sidewalk, and ran the strongest, fastest 11 miles I've ran in 3 years.
I'm running towards her.
The finish line was only the beginning.