When I turned 30, I started running ½ marathons. Since then, I have tried to run one every year…..about 10-ish? (STOP DOING THE MATH!) In every single one of them, I always hit this mental wall at mile 9. The start of the race is about the excitement. There is the crowd of anxious runners, the music, the spectators, then finally the Star Spangled Banner (which always gets me teary much to my “bad-ass” alter ego’s dismay). Then you begin. You dodge your way in and out of pockets of people to find your rhythm. Your groove. When you hit mile 6, you realize you are about half-way finished. Yay! Then reality slowly sinks in. You still have another half to go. You try to keep a positive attitude. Then you hit mile 9. DAMN you, mile 9. Perhaps it’s just me? But when I hit mile 9, I no longer care that I’m “almost” there. I’m tired, I have blisters, my toes have gone numb, my knees are screaming, I want to drink lots of water….hell, who am I kidding- I want a margarita! (hey- I’ve lost a lot of salt at this point!) Needless to say, at this point, I am thinking of quitting. How lame would that be, right? I am not the best runner. I have no desire to do a full marathon. It takes me about six months to train for these, and I should be thinking homestretch! Alas, it never fails. Low point at mile 9. Don’t get me wrong….at mile 10 my morale starts boosting. By 12, I’m flying to the finish. Mile 9 just always pulls the rug out from underneath me. I am in mile 9 of the first year of my overseas adventure.
I’ve been here since August, and only have five weeks left of my class. My husband comes out here in three weeks. You all are now thinking, “GET OVER IT, WOMAN.” I’m just zapped. I fight to stay motivated and strong. I try to stay energized even though I keep ending up sick. I get lonely, even though I am not alone here. Mile 9.
I have a great summer planned ahead of me, I actually get PAID over the summer, I get to be home for more than three weeks at a time, yet I struggle to be enthusiastic. Mile 9.
I guess the blessing of experiencing this feeling before in my life is to know that this too, shall pass. I have accomplished a lot this year. I have started going back to school to obtain my Masters Degree, I have lived on my own for the first time in my entire life, I have learned more about myself as a teacher here than all my previous years in the states bundled together. So what I have learned about mile 9? Keep focusing up, not down at my feet. Don’t stop to walk, it’ll just be that much harder to start up again. Look at all the runners around me. They have got to be feeling the same way, right? Encourage each other to keep going. Get my best song going on my Ipod and put my game face on. Mile 10 is coming up.