Kristy McCaffrey writes contemporary and award-winning historical western romances. She likes the peculiar, the fascinating, and the scientific; animals and the outdoors; her husband and children; history, symbols, and mythology. Grab a cup of tea and hang out by the fireside. Let's travel together.
Monday, December 2, 2013
My First Half-Marathon (or Hanging Out With Wild Woman)
By Kristy McCaffrey
by bone, hair by hair, Wild Woman comes back. Through night dreams, through
events half understood and half remembered…”
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories
of the Wild Woman Archetype
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
is a girl, and she’s curious. She likes to explore and wander, outside as well
as inside herself. Maybe you’ve met her. Maybe you spend a lot of time with her,
or maybe you cross paths with her only occasionally. She is Wild Woman; she is you.
only antidote for fear is Wild Woman.
She will look beyond any smallness and strive toward a connection of
empowerment. I found her recently, again, while reaching for the goal of completing
my first half-marathon. I’d never run this far before, I never imagined I could
run this far. Although I’ve jogged off and on most of my life, I would be
hard-pressed to ever admit that I’m a runner. I shuffle along at a very slow
pace, one that had me, many years ago, accompanied by a police officer riding
the end-of-the-race motorcycle for a 5K competition. I was mortified. I
continued to participate in 5K’s, but they frequently left me dejected and
depressed. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d somehow failed because I
wasn’t fast. Wild Woman was nowhere
to be found.
growing older has brought new priorities, as well as a low tolerance for belief
systems that drain rather than enhance life. Wild Woman whispered in my ear, enticing me with places like the
Himalaya, Mongolia, and Alaska. Don’t you
want to hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain or summit Mt. Kilimanjaro? she
asked. Yes, to all of the above. Knowing that I needed a strong baseline of
fitness to accomplish these journeys, I decided to train for a half-marathon. This
motivation was far better than worrying if I would be fast enough not to
The pain of Mile 12.
lesson is this—sometimes you just don’t know yourself.
On race day,I ran the first
mile in 9 minutes. This was way too fast for me since I had trained at
12-minute miles. But it felt surprisingly good, so off I went. I kept a pace of
9- to 11-minute miles for seven miles. Wow. I was stunned. But Wild Woman wasn’t; she was simply giddy
with joy. She didn’t care about pace, she ran because the rhythm felt right. She
mentally embraced every woman she passed, or who passed her, because nothing is
grander than others pushing and reaching past their own limits, whatever those limits
was a great day. And although the end wasn’t pretty (big deeds are not achieved
without discipline and maybe just a dash of agony), I crossed the finish line
immensely proud of my accomplishment. I ran faster than I ever imagined, and
while I still came in well in the back of the pack, it mattered little to me.
I’d spent the day with Wild Woman. I highly