The Finish Line: It’s Just the Beginning 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

By: Margo Dekoch, CCR Race Team Member

In the early stages of my college career, inspired by the optimism of New Year’s resolutions, I made the impulsive decision to sign up for a half marathon. My training regimen, if you could call it that, consisted of sporadic 3-mile runs and the occasional pickup basketball game at the rec center. When race day finally arrived, I found myself underfueled, underprepared, and overconfident. Hours after the starting gun, I stumbled across the finish line—humbled and hurting. Frustrated and oblivious to the dedication and training required, I simply chalked it up to not being cut out for running.

Fast forward several years to this past summer when, as a newcomer to the Annapolis area, I was invited to join a local run club. Though I initially struggled to complete the 3-mile loop, something stirred deep within me.

I began scouring the internet for running tips and decided to meet myself where I was at: starting with 30-minute intervals of walking and jogging until I could comfortably run a mile or two at a time. Taking it slowly allowed me to truly discover the joy and therapeutic benefits of running.

After completing the Charm City Oktoberfest 5-miler, I felt the time had come to pursue redemption and signed up for the Annapolis Running Festival Half.

At 28, I was much older (at least it felt like it) and somewhat wiser than when I first attempted a half marathon. Those extra years of life experience led me to research 12-week training programs online. Slowly but surely, I fell in love with the process. I printed out a plan, stuck it on the refrigerator, and diligently crossed out each workout as I completed it.

After months of consistent training, my moment arrived. The stage was set, and the conditions were ~slightly less than~ perfect: rainy, windy, and a chilly 40 degrees.

And while my finishing time of 2:16:21 might not have been enough to qualify me for the Olympics, I felt like Lightning McQueen as I crossed that finish line. The best part? My running journey didn’t end the moment I completed the race.

You see, what I’ve learned over the course of countless runs is that the true beauty lies in embracing the journey—not just the reward of crossing the finish line. The best parts of life reside outside of our comfort zones. It’s crucial to set aside ego, meet ourselves where we are, and believe that with a little discipline and a lot of joy, we can go much farther than we ever thought possible.


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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