One of the best things about marrying my husband is all of the really dynamic women that I inherited as part of my family. The guys are good, too, but the women are phenomenal. Kimberly Mitchell is one of those phenomenal women. Adventurous, competitive determined, grounded … a fantastic mother. I asked Kim to share her life with us because she’s very inspiring. I always find myself wanting to cheer for her no matter what she’s up to. You could say that I’m a fan and I think you will be, too. Here’s Kim in her own words
* * * * * *
Run and Not Be Weary
I see the sign for mile 12. Even though I’m “almost” finished, this nearly 90 degree heat is draining. I actually consider stopping to walk. But I know I can’t give up. It’s time to finish the race strong. I’ve come too far.
Just how far had I come? Well, I didn’t exactly start out as a running newbie. I ran track in high school and had exercised regularly for most of my adult life. Then sometime in 2014 I decided that I wanted to actually start training on a consistent basis. I wanted the excitement and adrenaline rush from running timed races. My competitive nature desired to pursue running as more than a hobby. Chasing medals became my new passion. But at that time, I couldn’t see past the 3 mile mark.
The first race I ran that I had faithfully trained for was last November. It was a 5K/15K and I was running the shorter distance. During the race I remember reaching the split where some runners veered left to finish the 5K and some runners journeyed right to trek on for another 7 miles. At that moment I could not fathom going on to run the longer race. It seemed like such an unattainable goal.
Fast forward eight months of training, two 5Ks and two 10Ks later and I was ready to take on a longer race. I had been itching to see how far my legs could take me. Upon the encouragement of my sister, I signed up for the Nike Women’s 15K in Toronto with her and two of our sorority sisters. The extravagance of the race made the distance much less intimidating. Along the 9.3 mile course there were drummers, motivational signs, a gospel choir and the breathtaking view of the Toronto city skyline. Many runners, including myself, playfully referred to it as “running through the six.” All of those details made the run so much fun and exciting. After completing the race I felt like I could continue on and the anxiety of running a half-marathon no longer seemed that daunting. I immediately knew that I was ready to go the extra (four) miles.
Honestly, the accomplishment I feel after finishing a race is more rewarding than anything I’ve experienced in my career. I am currently general counsel for a small business, so there are no promotions to earn and only a few accolades at best. Sure I’ve won some difficult legal battles, but the rush of reaching a personal goal I set for myself is unparalleled. Racing adds an extra layer of achievement to my life that I can fully control.
So back to mile 12 where I’m feeling hot and discouraged. I question why I chose this first hot weekend in September to pursue my first sub two hour half-marathon feat. Ultimately I could not bear to give up because I knew that my body could do it even if my brain doubted it. As I get closer to the finish line, I see my husband and children waving and cheering me on. I use all of my remaining strength to power through the finish with a time of 1:59. I was unbelievably relieved and thankful. No better words can explain how I felt than my favorite scripture, which was on my shirt- “They that wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”- Isaiah 40:31.
Although that was likely the longest race I will run, my running journey is far from over. Whenever my schedule is hectic and overbooked, and my life no longer feels like my own, I go out for a run. Whenever I am stuck in a creative rut or feeling monotonous, I plan for my next race. Whenever I am tired and not sure what direction to turn next, I just keep going. Using running as an analogy for life, I encourage myself to renew my strength and not be weary.
Kimberly Mitchell is an attorney and photographer. She lives in south suburban Chicago with her supportive husband and two very active children. When not giving legal advice, photographing families, or shuffling the kids to activities, she runs races and collects medals. ∞