Before you crossed the finish line
Before you said, “I’ll sprint the last few yards”
Before you couldn’t believe there was only a 5 K left to go
Before you passed the halfway point and were surprised you made it that far
Before you changed your strategy, doing intervals so you can finish strong
Before you ran 4 miles, your longest race distance since you had just raced 5ks
Before you toed the line at 8 AM in the pouring rain
Before you signed up for your first ever half marathon
You were already a winner
This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #190 – Before and written for a lovely young woman I met at the Niagara Falls International Women’s Half Marathon.
Paulette was walking the course during a stretch when my friend, Danelle and I, were also walking. We struck up a conversation. I don’t remember what we said but when Danielle and I started running again (since we were doing intervals) Paulette joined us. She said she liked our energy and felt she would be able to finish if she continued doing intervals with us.
This was around mile 4, after the 5K racers had turned towards the finish line so we still had a significant amount of the race left to do. As we did our intervals, Paulette told us that this was her first half marathon, that she had only done fun 5Ks before. She was also running it alone since her friends had other things come up last minute. I was really impressed by her! This young woman had jumped feet first into an international half marathon – no 10K in between, minimal training beforehand and all on her own! What a strong and brave individual!
I could tell Paulette was also determined, bold and ambitious. She stayed with us despite dealing with cramping in her inner thigh area. She already had the mindset of a runner!
Towards the end of the race, her sister, brother-in-law and nephew came to cheer her on. Oh, the look of happiness on Paulette’s face! And the look of awe and happiness and pride on Paulette’s family’s faces! Her nephew even joined her running for a mile or so.
As we neared the finish line, Paulette kept on repeating that she couldn’t believe she had ran as far as she did. 13.1 miles (or 21.1 kilometers for the rest of the world) is no joke!! Going around the final bend, Paulette was hesitant to run to the finish line, but run she did, crossing the finish line looking powerful, happy and accomplished!
I am so honored to have run with Paulette on her first half marathon. This was a PR (personal record) for her. I look forward to hearing about her next race – because I know she will continue to run!
My full review for the half marathon will be coming soon! Stay tuned!
©️ iido 2019