Today marks five months since the completion of my first half marathon.
And yes, I’m both surprised (and not at all) that I’m just now writing about it. I guess that’s what happens when you get caught up in life—you forget to write about the monumental moments that you pushed so hard for because instead of taking a moment to reflect on success come to fruition, you’re busy enjoying the moment. And the subsequent moments thereafter.
Anyways, back to the point. The Brooklyn Rock ‘n’ Roll Half was one hell of an experience—and one in which I’m still mildly shocked I was able to complete—not being a runner and all. It was one of those bucket list fitness experiences that I so badly wanted to prove to myself I could tackle and yet when I did, I was dumbfounded.
Leading up to the half I immersed myself in daily training. And, as it goes, I started out strong and began to slack the closer I got to race day. In the first month of my training, perhaps you recall, I coincided it with a month of sobriety and daily Ashtanga yoga. Looking back (and my dad will just love this), that was likely the most wholesome month of my entire life. I’ve never felt so rejuvenated and capable of taking on the world. It wasn’t just about fitness either; it was an entire way of life. Three decisive changes—no alcohol, synchronized breathing during morning mat time, and pushing myself out of the mindset that “the only cardio I’ll ever do is walk past the treadmills on the way to the racks”—created a domino effect on my life as a whole. Before I knew it I was adventuring solo and loving every minute of it. From the Union Square Farmer’s Market to the NYC Tattoo Expo and all across the city, my adventures on my own created a connectedness to the world and for the first time, an overwhelming sense of equilibrium. Okay, so maybe that sounds wicked cliché—but you have to understand that as a person with self-prescribed anxiety, it was nothing short of typical for me to be tuned in to every single movement around me—anticipating people’s actions and thoughts—and, oftentimes, overanalyzing them and getting it all wrong. When you live in your head like that for so long and require a safety net of never going anywhere alone, the moment you suddenly find yourself actually enjoying solitary excursions, let alone being genuinely okay with going on one in the first place—it’s pretty massive.
At the end of that transformative month, I celebrated full-fistedly and let my yoga practice fall to the wayside. And, slowly, my running patterns puttered off as well. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I had maintained my routine. But, shortsightedly I was more focused on loving that perfect summer rooftop weather that made dinners down at The Frying Pan and nights out with Ellie a necessity. And, of course, there was Matt and everything that goes along with him being a part of my life. So, as quickly as I changed my lifestyle and as a result my mindset, I just as soon lost it and with that I slowly lost the glow that it gave me—that eye-opening equilibrium. And, looking back and looking forward, especially with my birthday being eight days away, I know that it’s something I not only hope to regain in my twenty-fourth year, but something I will wholeheartedly strive for.
Anyways, before I knew it, it was the end of summer and Matt was pressing me to run my first half with him because, not surprisingly, he began training for one shortly before we began talking as well. I say not surprisingly because that boy and I seem to always be doing the same thing without even realizing it—and as soon as we do, we just smile because it’s another indicator of just how connected we are.
At first I was super hesitant to agree to run my half with him. You see, I looked at my training and my decision to participate in this event to be a solitary feat and I didn’t want to 1) associate it with someone who might not stick around and 2) I knew it’d make me extra competitive, and when you’re going against a guy who looks like he’s built for this kind of thing, it didn’t feel all that nice that no matter how hard I tried, I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach his level. Eventually I got over the negative thoughts that were holding me back and went for a more positive route—he’d stuck around for that long and not given me a reason to doubt his intentions to eventually make it official and who cares if he was faster—it would still be an accomplishment for myself and it’d likely motivate me to push myself to my limits. So, I agreed and we signed up.
What I didn’t realize was that I was signing up for an event in which its finish line would mark the start line of something life changing. And, you see, that’s because oftentimes I analyze every aspect of my surroundings with an eye towards what could go wrong instead of what could go right, which in turn led me to never predict what would be waiting as I made my final strides of 13.1 exciting, mundane, uplifting, exhausting miles.
There he was. Looking as handsome as ever and I was so focused on his face that I nearly missed what was in his hands:
“Ms. Becca, will you be my girlfriend?!”
The question was followed by two boxes, one of which needed to be checked off. Momentarily I was nervous, hesitant even—not because I hadn’t already fallen for him, but because I knew I was setting myself up to fall so much harder. And that’s pretty scary—vulnerability I mean. Because when you open yourself up to the possibility of being hurt it can be pretty daunting to trust that you won’t be. And, admittedly, that’s something I still struggle with from time to time (and by that I mean more often than you would probably assume). But that’s okay because each day I try a little harder and things get a little easier—and each day he continues to push me to my limits in such a way that the only option is to grow from it—to become better.
So here we are— five months after an event that wasn’t what I signed up for in the most wonderful way. Five months after being presented with two boxes when there might as well have only been one because when it came to him—there was no question.
And, regardless of what we’ve encountered and what’s ahead—I’m not sure if there ever will be.