The anticipation was high as I roamed through my dresser, looking for the perfect outfit, an outfit that would hug me in all the right places while exposing a bit of skin. An outfit that would let my inner confidence shine. Nothing was to be left at chance. I carefully laid out the perfect top, matching bottoms, my favorite underwear and socks on the bed. I finished by pairing it all with the perfect pair of shoes.
I gave myself a manicure and pedicure, carefully choosing the perfect nail polish to go with my outfit and spirit. An extra bit of pampering was the perfect way to relax while marking the occasion that something special was about to happen.
After making sure my hair was exactly the way I wanted it, my skin was soft and supple, and my face had a healthy glow, I slipped into my outfit, stepped into my shoes and took a final look at myself in the mirror. I was happy about what I saw and I felt like a million bucks. Just as I was heading out the door, I grabbed my bag and made sure I had everything: keys, wallet, cell phone, race bib, timing chip, hydration belt, gels and my heart-rate monitor.
One can hardly say that I had not done this before, even though I've become picker in later days. Every time I've felt pumped, excited and ready to go. But also nervous, slightly worried and with varied degree of doubt and hesitation. Would it be a positive surprise or would I leave feeling disappointed?
The more I kept putting myself out there, the more different emotions I had to process. The best days left me feeling elated and full dreams about a future with endless possibilities. After the worst days, I would feel broken, in tears and wondering why I keep doing it, why I was willing to risk having my hopes crushed. And these are just the emotions I've gone through, not even thinking about the physical highs and lows.
But last time was very different. When I decided to give it another go, I thought it would be like all other times, but in the weeks leading up to October 6, I noticed a shift, something had changed. This was not going to be record breaking or limit stretching, I had to settled for it being nice and easy. I just didn't have it in me, the energy to push, to achieve and to challenge myself.
True to my prediction, as I stood on the starting line, there was no energetic excitement nor nervous doubt, instead I felt prepared, calm and a quiet confidence I had never felt before. And as it turned out, the race was neither record breaking nor limit stretching, but it was the most pleasant and enjoyable race I've ever done.
It took 16 different encounters to find the feelings I so desperately have been searching for. Maybe I never found them because I was looking for the wrong things. Maybe the allure of passion and drama clouded my judgement, I should've known from the start that they would never trump confidence, encouragement and joy. In the end, maybe I had to wait for the feelings to find me.
I think this is it, or at least I hope it is. The timing is perfect and the stage is set, all I need to do is to grab this opportunity and run, literally. I'm still weary and deadly afraid that these feelings will fade, so I will take is slow, give it time and hopefully nurture this into something that will last a lifetime.