13.1 Miles off the Beaten Path

My legs race, my mind wanders.

I have never considered myself as a runner. Maybe it’s because I have never been fast or really good at it. If there was one thing I was going to do though – was at least fake it for 13.1 miles, a half marathon.

I conquered – yes, to me conquer would be the word – my first half marathon back in early December of 2011.

I was determined to train for 10 weeks to try and get in half marathon-shape. I did the workouts – not all the long distances, I admit. It didn’t matter, I had a will, I had legs – I was determined.

There’s one thing I love about running – I can think clearly. I can escape reality. I can let my mind be free.

My first half marathon would be in Cambodia at Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat is a Buddhist temple complex that was built in the early 12th century. It is the world’s largest religious building.

It’s absolutely stunning. The weather is warm; the people are friendly.

I wasn’t really sure what I signed up for, but it would be more than a half marathon.

I’m not talking about just the run – yes, after the 10 mile mark – my sweat covered body was getting tired. My legs felt like cement. My pace probably would have been faster if I walked the remainder of it. I didn’t care, I wasn’t going to stop. After all, there was motivation along the way.

It was the people along the half marathon path that kept me going.

Kids smiling, waiting anxiously on the sidelines, hoping you would give them high fives.

Their faces said it all – perspective.

It was just what I needed. It was adrenaline. These children, most of them very poor, were so happy to greet you.

Their faces had a similar look to one that was reminiscent of my own childhood –  the one you have on Christmas morning.

It just made me realize that even though my body wanted to give up, my heart did not. I high fived as many kids as I could.

It made the grueling miles, bearable. My mind wandered and I thought to myself:

I’m fortunate. I have a soulmate. I have a wonderful family. I have great friends. I have a nice home. I get to travel around the world. I live in a foreign land that will continue to shape me. I have a wonderful life. I have what these kids dream of, what most people want, and hell – I’m going to run for it all.

It was in that moment that I stopped feeling sorry for my tired feet. I ran. I ran slowly. I ran very, very slowly – but I ran. I ran to the finish line.

Tired. Sweaty. Grateful. Smiling. Perspective.

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