Just Go.

Sunday was the Knoxville half marathon. This year, instead of forcing myself into stress, I decided I would take my time and enjoy the run without pressure. I have to say- it was a great day. I finished in about 2hrs 30 mins. Not my best time by far, but it was fun, and I knew that if I tried to push it I would end up injured on the side of the road, waiting for someone to come find me.

These were my thoughts as I trotted through the streets of Knoxville.

1) I don’t know what it is, but I do not like braid ponytails. I love braids and I am incredibly jealous of anyone who can braid their own hair. I also am an advocate of the pony tail. I wear one 96% of summer and I get seriously mad when I cut my hair and I can’t put it into a pony tail. The braid pony tail, however, just gets to me. Maybe its the jealousy- most likely it is just me being shallow.

2) Knoxville is a great city for runners. I felt so encouraged by the people on the race course and I knew maybe 2 people. People from the community get up at 7:30 on a Sunday morning to cheer on complete strangers and they seem to enjoy doing it! Also, Knoxville is beautiful on a warm April morning- there are very few things as pretty as the dogwoods that are blooming right now. Praise the Lord.

3)If you think you can’t run a half marathon- you are wrong. I stayed close to the back during my run, but I saw so many different types of people. Literally, every body type imaginable was out there. It is so encouraging to see. It reminds me that I don’t have to have a perfect running body, the best running clothes or shoes- I just have to go. Getting out there is what matters. Seriously. Just go.

4)  I noticed that old men- like 60s-70s old men- who still run DON’T BEND THEIR KNEES. It freaks me out. As I was running all of these old men kept passing me and I’d look at their skinny little legs in their tiny little running shorts and I noticed that not a single one bent their knees when they ran. I don’t know if it is the old age or a technique that they learned way back, but I am not going to try it.

5) Having a conversation with a person while they have their headphones in is difficult. I didn’t try it, but I did notice many people yelling at their running partners. I think that if you are going to run with someone, and you are going to have headphones in- please turn down the jams just a little bit.  I think it will help your friendship.

6) During and after every 5 mile or higher run I crave oranges/orange juice/orange jello- basically orange anything. I don’t know what it is, but at about mile 9 all I could think was “get through these next few miles and you get some orange juice.” You better believe it- I made it through those 4 miles. I didn’t get orange juice, but I did demolish some orange slices. I’m pretty sure I ate 9 orange slices. Whatever, hate on me if you want.

7) I will never be able to run the Knoxville marathon course without getting choked up. All I could think about during my run was my attempt at a marathon. 2 years ago I knew without a doubt that Nat Scott was going to be my husband. He risked life and limb to be all over the marathon course. He orchestrated a huge group of people to cheer me on. And in the middle of all of his crazy cheering, he managed to find time to ask my dad for permission to marry me. I felt so loved that day and as I ran up Noelton and up Cumberland- my mind drifted back to 2011 when my parents and all of my friends were standing on those corners cheering for me. What the heck- I am so blessed.

8) And finally, the thought I have anytime I have a really good run- I hope I never forget why I started running in the first place. I started running because I needed something to do besides feel sorry for myself. Running help save my heart from a lot of destruction. The Lord used running to minister to my very broken heart. Here I am- 5 years later, still running, always coming back to the roads. I pray that I never ever forget who I was before I started running. Lord help me, I was a mess ( and I still am!), but He cleaned me up and sent me out.

I’ve learned in my few years of adult life that sometimes, it isn’t about being the fastest or the best. Sometimes it is just about going. I am not meant to be a competitive, winning races type of gal, but that is ok. I am just meant to get out there. That is enough.

oh…and number 9) Running long distances is good, because you can go to Five Guys Burgers and eat a 1,000 calorie meal and still be under the recommended calories for the day.