It sounded like fun (even though my running schedule has slipped from consistent to sporadic over the years, even though I've never run a race, even though Matt runs multiple marathons a year, and even though I had no idea what I was getting myself into).
So on Sunday, we trekked to Austin to participate in the Human Race, sponsored by Nike. It was the biggest running event ever, taking place in 25 different cities across the world.
When we arrived, I started to get intimidated by all the svelte, athletic bodies bumping into me. I was thirsty and hot and the race hadn't even started.
My first goal was simply to not be the last person across the finish line. Seriously. I already don't like to be the center of attention, but to be the center of attention when I'm really, really bad at something is even worse.
Once I moved to the starting line, I realized there were different paces. I lined up with the slowest runners--12-minute miles. [insert huge sigh of relief when I realized the walkers were lining up behind us]
So then I decided to take my original goal and step it up a notch: I will run the entire 6 miles without stopping.
This goal wasn't too crazy. I run slowly. I used to run six miles once a week (well, uh, three years ago). Surely my adrenaline and competitive edge would kick in and I could make it happen.
I was feeling pretty confident in my goal (I wasn't even going to walk through the water stops), until we hit the first hill.
I know, I know, Austin isn't exactly the Colorado Rockies, but it does happen to be in "Hill Country." The first four miles of the course were full of real hills.
My goal quickly became: Make it through this race without throwing up.
I had lots of time (one hour and 19 minutes to be exact) to think (about anything besides the oppressive heat and my sore body).
I realized that running excruciating races is a good metaphor for wedding planning:
- Planning a wedding is not a competition. It's been said a lot throughout the blogging community, but it's profound enough to say again. I had to turn off my instinctive competitiveness and set goals for myself. A good run for one person looks very different for another, just as a good wedding for one person looks very different for another.
- Wedding planning is an arduous process that takes endurance and stamina. The longer you plan your wedding, the more you start to obsess about what else you should be doing. The longer you plan your wedding, the more you start to lose sight of all the non-wedding related things that used to be your life.
It makes sense that a good wedding planning process does the same. It inspires you to stay more connected to your friends and family, to be better about showing appreciation, about celebrating the positive, about letting go of the details and mishaps that don't matter in the long-run.