It can be our best friend, or it can be our worst enemy, and oftentimes it is both in the same breath. I am talking about something that every single one of us has whether we like it or not. It is our “inner voice.” It can talk us in or out of many things.
I have put my inner voice through a lot with my antics on this rock we call earth. The latest being running, or plodding through the half-marathon on April 23rd. So, here is my inner voice talking to me throughout the entire race, all 13 gut-wrenching, powerful, awful, wonderful moments.
Mile 1: “You are doing great. Wind feels good, you look great, you’ve got a great pace going, this might be your best half ever.”
Mile 2: “Man, still doing great. Another great mile and I saw a reflection of you in a mirror on a building running through town and you looked fantastic. Oh, and great job not taking the shot of whiskey they were handing out back there. Let’s go!”
Mile 3: “Okay, not as good as mile 1 and 2 but you are not quitting. I am liking this new you. By now, you would have already started walking. I am sorry I cursed at you going all the way back to November when you started training and I said you should go to Arby’s across the street instead.”
Mile 4: “Dang brother, you made it through all of music row, most of it a slow grade but you did it. Now you are on Belmont Boulevard and remember, year one, this is where it got tough for you but I talked you through it. You did train for this! Also, I am getting thirsty so let’s drink something and soon.”
Mile 5: “Okay, just got a message from your right quad muscle and he says anytime you want to stop it, feel free. He won’t mind and, hold on, hold on, your toenail on your right big toe is calling saying that he also wants you to quit. What do you want me to tell them?
Mile 6: “Hey big guy, its me again, I am really proud of you because you are still going strong and when did this hill come to 12 South? I don’t remember ever seeing this hill but it goes all the way up through 12 south. So if you want to walk, that is just good with me. You have done great so far but hold up, people, lots of people lining the street along the route so let’s not walk here, maybe a slight jog and we will worry about not dying come mile 7.”
Mile 7: “Okay, I have sent an email to the marathon people that the route through 12 South has to go because that hill felt as if I was climbing Mt. Everest. You can absolutely walk now. Not many people around. Pretty sure your toenail has come off and I think one on the other foot is about to go. Also, I am hearing in from just about every muscle in your body and they are all saying we are good to stop.”
Mile 8: ‘Joe? Hello? Look man, no matter what, you are not going to win this race, let’s start walking and I won’t judge.”
Mile 9: “Hey! It is happening, it is happening! He is slowing down, thank God. Wait? Why are you running again? Oh, you see someone you know who decides to run with you for a bit. Get rid of him and truly, let’s call it a day. Please?”
Mile 10: “Finally, we are walking. Why are we doing this whole thing again? Joe, up there, just cut around that building and I promise not to tell anyone. And that cramp in your back, that is not a heart attack. At least I don’t think but if you want to completely stop and sit down, I will forever love you.”
Mile 11 and 12: “Are you really going to start running again? Why? You have lost two toenails. The pain your right quad is almost unbearable. The cramp in your back is so bad you can’t raise your right arm. How about just walk and smile?
Mile 13: “My man! We are almost there. One/tenth of a mile to go and we are done. I am so proud of you, I am emotional. You never quite and I was by your side the whole time. I never once doubted you!”
Finish line: “Please give me a minute. Please. Too many tears of pride to talk right now. I am sorry.”
15 minutes after finishing: “NEVER DO THIS AGAIN! And oh, good job.”
To all the runners who had self-doubts and doubters yet have a medal hanging in their house, way to go! You will remember that day the rest of your lives.