When I got the crazy notion in my head to do this half marathon, I didn’t realize all the benefits I would get. What began as a question to myself has blossomed into something so much more. I wasn’t expecting all the changes in me and they are the quiet surprises that make me smile while I’m icing down my ankle or knee.
At first, I needed to accomplish running 3 miles just to start the recommended training schedule. The first time I went for it, I doubted myself. It was hard to wrap my brain around that idea. As silly as that seems to me now, it was a mental barrier that I had built for myself. That first time I inched past 2.5 miles, I told myself ‘ok, just run to 2.6 miles, now 2.7 miles, now 2.8’. Once I got there, I knew I could finish and so I did. I was proud of myself for pushing my body and overcoming an obstacle (albeit mental one). Now that I had done that, I could start the training schedule!
Megan and I found one that we felt comfortable with and seemed doable. It has us running Mon/Wed/Thurs and then BIG run on Sat. The first week was 3,3,3 and BIG run 4 for a total of 13 miles that week. The second week was 3,4, 3 and BIG run 5 miles for a total 15 miles. Then last week was 3,4, 3 and BIG run of 6 miles for a total of 16 miles. This week we have done 3,5, 3 and our BIG run of 8 comes Saturday. With every Saturday increasing the mileage, I had talked my brain into believing that 1 more mile won’t really be that bad. Will I notice it? Yes. Will I die? No.
Then I noticed the jump on Saturday. We are going from 6 to 8! My brain is having trouble with this particular transition. While it can process 1 itty bitty mile (that’s what I tell myself) extra, it has an extreme problem with this big jump. 2 more miles!?! Hmmm… I suppose this is where that mental toughness comes into play. Who is bigger and badder? Me and my determination or my chicken little mind and body? I refuse to lose.
It’s hard to explain to people why this means so much to me. While on vacation last week, people commented why was I running? I was on vacation and my ankle was jacked. I just said that regardless of if I run this week or not, I have 13.1 miles to run on October 19th. In part it was true but the real truth is a little harder to explain.
My entire philosophy on life is that God made us with greatness inside us. Each of us has a duty to become the better us we can be. Maybe sometimes it comes easily and sometimes, we have to fight toothand nail towards it. I believe this half marathon is helping me ‘become’. I’m learning a lot in these weeks. Not just about myself but about my body and treating it right. I’ve learned that I need to listen to my body when it tells me things and I need to treat it right if I want it to treat me right. Meaning, I need to fill it with goodness. Drinking and smoking (because I only smoke when I drink) aren’t conducive to running well and so I need to make sure I’m not doing that on the nights before I run. I also need to eat well. The more that I train, the more contentious of what foods I’m putting into my body. Not only mine but my family’s bodies as well. Drinking enough water is something I struggle with but I can safely say, I’ve dramatically reduced my caffeine intake now. No more pot of coffee in the morning for me. I might have a cup or two but then I really feel like it’s enough.
What have I learned about my body? Well, I’ve for sure learned that I can do more than I ever thought I could. I know that I can push myself and do it even if it’s hard or hurts. And I’ve learned that I actually like the process. My mother in law jokingly made a reference to me being a sado-masochist but in reality, I don’t enjoy the pain, I enjoy making my body do what it doesn’t want to do. During my 6 mile run, I wanted to quit over and over. It was hot. I was alone. My muscles ached in my calves. My knee throbbed and my ankle had daggers shooting in it. A teeny voice told my brain that if I just stopped and walked, no one had to know. But I would know. And I could never tell anyone that I had done it if I really, truly hadn’t done it. So, I pressed on and I’ll press on Saturday too. It will feel great when it’s done.
And so, this is what I’ve figured out so far. I’m looking forward to what I discover ahead of me. Lord knows, I got time. 8 miles… how long do you think that takes???