Tomorrow will be my last run before the race and will wrap up 20 weeks of training. t-w-e-n-t-y. Our base mileage was crap to start with so that's why we did a 20-week plan. Four years ago I trained for one, and then ended up pregnant and barfing weeks before the race so I was unable to run it. My good friend and running partner, Billie had to run it by herself. You can read about it here if you'd like.
Apparently it took 4 years for me to be willing to do it again. And to talk Billie into it. She joked about making me sign a contact saying I wouldn't get pregnant. I promised, and I'd like to go on record as saying I held up my end of the deal. Awesome.
We trained so well. So much better than last time. I'm not sure why, but it was just better. Our pace was faster, our endurance stronger, even our attitude was better. I learned that I can run on my own. Our schedules this Summer and Fall didn't match and so it forced me out there alone. And that was good. Very good.
Until September anyway, when Billie injured a muscle in her leg. For a few weeks we held out hope that she would still be able to run/walk it. But eventually denial gives way to truth. And you have a good cry and then suck it up, and realize you can and will do things on your own. I'm a big girl now. (did you sing it to the pull-up's commercial tune? Oh I hope so)
On long runs, I wrote some really moving and meaningful posts about running. They never actually made it to the computer, because the rest of my life gets in the way. Which means: I didn't make time for it.
But sitting here, three days out from the longest I've ever run in my entire life AND my first big race, there's some things I want to remember. My future may or may not hold more half-mary's, but one thing is certain. I only have a "first one" once.
- Running is a head game. You train your body, and slowly and steadily it responds. The brain is much harder to train. It's hard-wired for comfort. Every time I run I have to re-direct my thoughts to "stop running this is such a dumb idea" to "you can and will do this and you are not going to die."
- It has made me stronger physically, but it has also made me stronger mentally and emotionally. It has helped put fear in perspective. Because if I can run for two hours straight I can most certainly handle dealing with un-lovely people, amen?
- Running for me is always directly linked to spiritual things. Every step and breath comes from my creator. To get stronger physically, I must endure painful, painful training. Some runs feel amazing, and others are miserable, and each teaches me something. If I want a closer walk with God, I must go after it. Commit. And if I want to be more like Him, then it's gonna take some painful training. Painful endurance. I do not get to be a spiritual giant if I'm unwilling to be trained.
- This past year, outside of running, I have felt pushed passed my limits by people. On long runs, when I was pushing past miles that I previously thought impossible God whispered you can endure. Not on my own, but because of Him, I can.
- Runner's know that the person you compete against is yourself. I'm not comparing myself to other runners, I'm comparing myself against my Nike gps watch. That's what I love about it. We all get to push and encourage and strive to be better. We get to cheer each other on and celebrate victories. We make light of the bad runs because they happen to everyone and anticipate the next run will be better. Shake it off, get back up. Runners know how to tolerate pain and being uncomfortable, because it's the very definition of running. They are strong. They are not whiners. And I without a doubt wish more of us Christians acted like runners.
- After about 8 miles of running I start dreaming of how good the ice bath will feel.
- One of my favorite running songs has been "Overcomer" by Mandisa. It has found a constant loop for many, many miles. You're an overcomer. Stay in the fight till the final round. You're not going under, because God is holding you right now. Don't quit, don't give in.
- I am dreading the porta potty's. Like more than I'm dreading 13.1 miles.
- I must stick to my training plan. Go out s-l-o-w. Fuel often, and soak it in. The end.
- Also, my friends and family have graciously endured months and months of running talk. They are awesome.
So. Next post = Race Recap. Hooray! Hopefully...