It was dark, cold, and wet. 5am came early and with it, an abundance of rain.
I arrived at the convention center exhilirated. I was about to run my first (and so far, last) half marathon. I had been training for almost six months and was ready to conquer this race.
As the time came to approach the starting line with the 25,000 other runners, I thought to myself, “This is absurd. What the heck am I doing out here in forty degree weather in the pouring rain in the dark to run thirteen miles?”
As the guns went off and the masses of people started to run, I suddenly realized something terrible...I had forgotten to urinate.
“Just my luck...I’m about to spend two hours running and I forgot to use the restroom!”
Luckily, I looked up ahead and could make out some port-a-pottys in the dark.
“Oh, thank God.”
I practically sprinted to the toilet. I was so caught up in the starting of the race I didn’t even realize how full my bladder was. I was determined to not stop running once I started, so stopping to pee would have ruined the plan. Better to take care of this now.
As I finally crossed the starting line (like I said...twenty-five THOUSAND people...most of them in front of me), I felt a rush of excitement. I’m finally doing it! I’m finally running a half marathon!
In Houston, there’s a bridge about a mile into the race that everyone runs over before the course splits between the marathoners and the half-marathoners. As the bridge curved downards and leveled out on the ground, all I could see was a giant mass of people before me. All of them have been anticipating this day. Most of them have trained for at least several months prior. And here we finally were...running in the pouring rain, in forty degree weather.
And I suddenly realized how special that moment was.
I no longer just saw this race as something to cross off my bucket list, but a privileged opportunity to join with 25,000 other people in a shared experience. I became very aware that I had two working lungs, two strong legs, and a pretty healthy body, while many in this city alone are unable to walk.
And yet, had I never started, I wouldn’t have had that moment.
I wonder...how many of you have yet to start? Maybe it’s fear of not finishing? Or maybe it’s just fear of starting?
How many of you have pent up dreams and ideas just waiting to be released but something is holding you back?
How many of you have been waiting to have that honest conversation, but the idea of potential conflict scares you?
Trust me, I get that fear. That fear can be crippling.
But some of the scariest things I’ve embarked on are the most rewarding.
Moving away from home. Getting married. Becoming a father. Even having honest conversations that have the potential to backfire on you (those are pretty scary).
“More often than not, being brave means doing it scared.”
So many of us are waiting to be fearless before we take our first step. But much of life is doing it scared. That’s bravery. Being scared and doing it anyway.
There are moments and revelations that await us on the horizon, but we have to be willing to start. And those moments won’t be experienced until we step out into the unknown.
When I sit down to write, quite often I have no clue where I’m going to end up or what’s going to paint the page. Many times I look back and love it. Other times I hate it.