I never thought it was possible, but I did it. I trained while on vacation at the beach. I only got in 3 runs during the week, as opposed to my normal 4, but I was just glad to have … Continue reading
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that during my marathon training this time around I have a goal other than to “just finish.” In January I had zero thoughts of a time goal, I just wanted to get through the race in one piece. I took my time and had fun; it was Disney World! It ended up taking me (don’t laugh) 6 hours and 20 minutes. This time around I have a goal in finishing under 6 hours. That sounds impossible considering most people struggle to take just 2-3 minutes off of their marathon times, but at Disney I spent 20 minutes waiting in line for the bathroom several times. My time was slowed way down because I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t push myself because I didn’t know if my body could actually do it. This time around I have a better grasp on bathroom breaks, water breaks, nutrition breaks. etc. and find every minute to be valuable.
This week my training is getting serious. I am to the point in my training where I need to start logging approximately 30 miles a week, and I’m almost there.
My training this week will be as follows:
- Monday: 4 Miles
- Tuesday: 5 Miles
- Wednesday: 3 Miles/Cross Train (weights)
- Thursday: 4 miles
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: 9 Miles
- Sunday: Rest/Cross Train (cycling)
My marathon training last year looked something like this:
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: Run 45 minutes- 1 hour
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Run 45 minutes- 1 hour
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: Long Run (eventually working up to 20 miles)
- Sunday: Weights
Looking back, I really wasn’t running enough last year. Even now I’m still building up my endurance; I would eventually like to be able to run about 50 miles per week. Little by little I will get there.
This weekend I was really encouraged and inspired by a woman that I run with. She is 71 years old and can outrun just about anyone I know. She’s been running for 40 years and is simply one of the best. She wasn’t naturally a great runner, she worked hard to become one. It’s very humbling to run with a 71 year old woman (when I myself am not yet 25) and have her smoke you. It’s not just humbling, it’s incredibly inspiring. And with that a thought hit me, “I am young. I am capable. I can push myself harder and I can be great.”
With proper nutrition and dedicated training, I know I will become better. My 71 year old running partner gave me some wisdom this morning: “It’s not the pounds that get heavier, it’s the years.” I have a few more good years in me, and I’m going to put them to good use. I want to wake up at 71 years old and be able to outlast a bunch of 20-some year old runners myself.
Saturday mornings I wake up at 4:30am and prepare for my long run that I usually do with a couple friends. This morning I woke and was flooded with anxiety and doubt.
I began noticing every tiny ache or pain and thinking of how I could use it as an excuse to cut my run short. I had every intention of only running 4 miles today, blaming a pain in my ankle. It was 4:30 in the morning, I was tired, I ate pizza yesterday which is COMPLETELY out of my healthy eating plan, and last week I really struggled with the route that I would again be running today because it is full of steep hills. I was allowing myself to be beaten down by the enemy.
I got around, hydrated, ate a small pre-run meal and put on my running clothes. I grabbed my socks and shoes and started to lace them up and thought “just suck it up and do it. You have no real excuse. You’re not injured, you’re intimidated.” So I got in the car to drive to the starting point of my route and began to pray. I asked for the strength, the endurance, and the confidence to be able to complete this run.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
Christ gives us strength, He knows what it means to endure. A run is nothing compared to the pain He endured while on earth. But He promised to give us strength, and in that moment I decided to rely on Him to get me through this.
I think many will agree that the biggest challenge in running is the mental aspect of it. We often have the physical strength to actually run, but mentally we are weak. It takes an incredible amount of mental discipline to run a marathon; to tell yourself that you’ll be OK, to just keep going even though it hurts. This is why running brings me closer to God. I don’t have the discipline, the focus, the confidence or the mental strength to run on my own. But every time I call on Him, God provides.
After a moment of quiet prayer in the car I was at peace and I was ready. I pulled up to our starting point, said hello to my friends and we were on our way. As I said, this route is tough for me because it is full of steep hills, and I typically don’t run hills very often. Every other Saturday I have fallen behind my group and had to stop and walk to try and get the cramps out of my side after hauling up those hills.
Today was different. My body felt strong, even comfortable, the entire time. Even the largest hill that I dread the entire way didn’t slow me a bit. I ran up it without even being winded. “Wow!” I thought, “Are we running slower than last week?” No, our pace was actually 20 seconds faster than last week’s. And this time I didn’t get left behind.
So why was I struggling with so much fear? Because today my fullest potential was going to be unlocked, and the devil didn’t want to see that happen. My friend Hannah shared this last night and it couldn’t be more perfect:
“Keep your head up. Don’t look back. The pain is momentary. The finish is worth it. We run because our God is good.”
This summer marks one full year that I’ve been running. That’s so short compared to so many of my avid runner friends, but what a milestone it is for me. For years I tried to be a runner but could not run for more than 1 minute at a time. I tried the Couch to 5k plan countless times but just never followed through with it. I had convinced myself I would never be able to run for 30 minutes straight, so I never got past week 1 of C25k. I would finish week one, then repeat it the next week, then stop for a week, then get discouraged and just quit.
Looking back on the old me I think “what the heck?!” What was wrong with me? I had created a mental block and could not get past it. I was healthy, capable, a perfect contender. I just didn’t want to put in the effort. It wasn’t until one day when I realized that I had Christ strengthening me. If I had God as my helper, what is there that I possibly could not achieve? So I said I would run a marathon. I signed up for one having never completed a race in my life, and I started training. And I did it.
And I’m going to do it again. I just signed up for my second full marathon that I plan to run in February of 2015. Hopefully with a year of running and several races under my belt I will be able to improve my time a bit. I know what to expect this time around, what I need and don’t need (large hydration pack that got tossed at the WDWM at mile 20 was a lesson learned) and have become comfortable peeing in bushes…that’s already saving several minutes! Last year I had one goal: don’t die. This year I would like to put a little more “umph” into my training and set a time goal. Nothing too intense, but something to aim for other than just finishing it. Now that this blog exists I plan to record all of my training on here. It will be fun to post pictures, times, and watch progress unfold. It’s easy to forget how far I’ve come.
I am just in awe of the way God has carefully constructed our bodies and what they are able to do. I feel so blessed to be able to go out and run. I hope some of you will follow along this journey with me.