In retrospect, one thing has become very clear: that was not the wisest decision I have ever made.
As I ran, I had a lot of time to think about that decision. In the passing of enough time and footsteps to get you through 13.1 miles, a lot of thoughts can be brought full circle. Especially when your body gives up at mile three, and deep thinking is the only thing that can possibly pull you through the next ten miles.
In a mild form of desperation, I began to congratulate fellow runners as I passed them. Joining the rhythm of my breathing and footsteps were a few words of encouragement—a "Good job!" to one, a "You can do it!" to another. Deep down, I think I was hoping to convince myself that the same things were true for me.
By some Heaven-sent miracle, my desperate move worked. Suddenly, I was excited to move a little quicker as I searched for the next runner that I could encourage along the way. It pulled me.
After a while, I heard other runners referring to me as "Happy Girl." Well, you can't help but smile when someone calls you something as cheerful as Happy Girl, so the next, "Hey, way to go!" came out just a little bouncier.
And so I went, all the way to the finish line and some really stiff joints.
A little blip of this memory came to my mind while I was on a run this morning. Quite honestly, it was probably the longest one I've been on since the above-mentioned half marathon, and it was less than half its length. But the happiness was just the same. Running is that way for me--no matter how long it's been, the happiness comes back just like riding a bike.
So here's to reviving Happy Girl. I think I'll start off by stretching these newly stiffened joints.