Finally making friends with time. It is a difficult choice to make, yet one of the easiest as well. Always rushing, stressing the self and putting pressure on others to get things done or getting there. But on January 20, 2016 time was on my side, and running the Miami Famous was easy and fun. My biggest lesson was to fully comprehend that putting pressure on ourselves doesn’t really work. Enjoying each step is what works best.
Almost two months before running the Miami Marathon, I completed the New York City Marathon and since that happened, I had not really run anymore. I had done yoga a couple of times, I hiked Pico Duarte, jog for 20 minutes here and there, once or twice a week, but I had officially stopped training. New York was what I had prepared for during eight intense months.
I registered for Miami to continue the running path that preparing for New York had brought me back to doing. But I felt no pressure what so ever to even complete it. I just happened to be in Miami and I thought I should make it my Sunday run.
Funny thing is: Though New York was amazing and full of friends and happy surprises, including a 3:51 finish time, despite a fever a ton of hills and dehydration, Miami gave me a happy personal record of 3:43 and the realization of how simple and joyful running can be when you run for yourself without any sort of pressures.
Running Miami was a refreshing moment. Not only because it so happened to be the coolest Miami marathon in history, with a chilly starting temperature of 46 degrees. But also, because I found myself to be able to focus a lot easier with less people around. Specially after the 1/2 marathoners split and you end up running in a smaller crowd. Still with thousands of runners, and a difficult start because of the huge crowd. But after the half marathon mark, sometimes you find yourself running alone. The crowd is not as big as in New York. And with not many spectators either. I mean, who is going to get up at 6:00 am to cheer on some crazy runners? especially when it’s that cold.
For some people this may be discouraging and difficult to stay on a race mode. Some runners need lots of people to feel motivated and inspired. But for me, it was a way to disconnect from expectations and focus on my steps, my breathing or nothing at all.
If it had not been for that incredibly gross and super extra-large blister I got on my big toe by kilometer 12, I think I could have been able to lose myself completely in the moment and reached a bliss moment like those I reach when I run each morning on the mountains in Dominican Republic by my lonesome. It’s like meditation to me.
But the blister was real and my music device decide to quit on me as well. So after fighting with it for a couple of miles I decided to just let it go. “Whatever” became my mantra and the smiles started to flow. My legs kept going and the breeze brought me even more smiles. My eyes were glowing, I could feel it, and my heart kept the rhythm of the music I no longer heard with my ears.
I decided no to look at the watch anymore, and I also decided to ignore my knee injury and the blister. So I stopped trying to make it explode by stepping hard on it. I had irritated it enough. When I passed the clocks, I did not look. Instead, I would look at another runner’s face and smile at them. Those who smiled back, made my pain disappear. Those who didn’t too… as I knew their pain was stronger than mine.
At the end of the race, it was a huge surprise to discover I was taking home, not only an amazing finisher medal, the design is exquisite. But I had also accomplished a personal record without even trying. And that is truly priceless.
I know what the experts may say: I was rested, the course is flatter, conditions in NY for me were not favorable, etc., etc. But the truth of the matter is that while the technical part may be real, what I felt, how I felt during the race, and the difference that not putting pressure on myself and focus on time did was the key to a happier Maria.
So there, time was on my side, because I decided to put it aside. Time will always be. Time will never stop. So we must live with time, on it, through it, or by it. But always enjoying each and every one of its seconds without forgetting that what matters most is what we do and how we feel while time moves on.
Time: we cool!