Just yesterday, I ran my second half marathon in Toronto, Canada with 26,000 people from all over the world. But there was more to my weekend than just running through "The 6" with my woes. It was about connecting with over 300 runners from all over the globe who share the same passion for hitting the pavement as I do.
Bridge The Gap was established by Charlie Dark and Mike Saes in order to "connect the dots between running culture, lifestyle, music, art and creativity with events around the globe where crews come together to meet, run, create and party together." Their one idea has given birth to a global movement that continues to inspire people not only to become better athletes, but also better human beings.
During the running expo, Charlie spoke to the crowd about living in London, working in the music industry and why he decided to start Run Dem Crew. And while he shared a number of notable gems, the one thing that stuck with me was this quote:
"It's not how fast you run, it's how you cross the finish line."
Hearing that the day before the race was definitely inspiring, but the words didn't deeply resonate with me until after I crossed the finish line yesterday.
For those of you that have run long distances, you're fully aware of the fact that running sucks. Every time I lace up my sneakers to prepare for a run, I know that I'm about to push myself to the limit physically, mentally and emotionally. And sometimes, I've found that it is necessary to reach the edge in order to see what I'm truly made of.
Yesterday was definitely the hardest race I've run to date. It was COLD AF (pardon the language, but it's true) and my body was completely shocked by the elements. My focus was slightly off and I was in unfamiliar territory, but I knew that there was one goal: to cross that finish line. Despite my slow pace, frost bitten hands, wobbly ankles and aching muscles, I had to keep telling myself that I was going to cross that finish line.
To have that extra support from my friends as well as thousands of random strangers cheering me on (even when I felt like I was at my lowest) was truly incredible. But when I crossed that finish line with my arms raised above my head, I couldn't help by burst into tears of happiness, joy and relief.
If there's one thing that yesterday's race taught me, it's that there will be times in this life when I will be uncomfortable and down right scared out of my mind. But it is in those times when things are a little hairy and unfamiliar that I'm being pushed to shine my brightest.
I'm learning that these feelings of doubt and uncertainty are only temporary. And while I'm blessed to have the support of my family and friends cheering me on from the sidelines (and even sometimes jumping in the race to run it with me) I know that ultimately I have to pace myself, push through those moments of pain and celebrate crossing every finish line successfully.