Focus on your Next Turn

This weekend, I ran. I ran 14 miles. Although I have been here before, it feels like a life time ago – the lifetime that existed before my heart was broken by a stress fracture, and the lifetime that existed before my running days became slow and more of a waddle during pregnancy. It’s been less than two years since I’ve run 14 miles, but life has changed. A lot.

I ran 14 miles without my running partner. I ran 14 miles solo. I ran 14 miles on trails in our local state park. When I finished, I wanted to tell the stranger who was next to me what I had just accomplished, but she never made eye contact. I wanted to high-five someone. I wanted to hug someone. I just wanted someone to smile at me, but no one was around (besides the one lady who was avoiding eye contact). As I walked back to my car, emotion overwhelmed me. I stopped next to this tree to stretch and enjoy its shade. Tears started. Tears wouldn’t stop. I sat next to this tree, and I cried. I cried exhausted tears. I cried triumphant tears. I cried tears of pride and happiness.

Tree Hugger? Tree Crier?

I’ve made it back. I’ve made it back to the place I left when my femur failed me. I’ve made it back to the place I was afraid I would lose during my pregnancy. I’m back adding miles and more miles. I’m back on my quest to run 26.2 miles.

The 14 miles didn’t come easy. At mile 8, I wanted to crawl back to my car. As I stopped to refill my water bottle, I reached out to my running partner and my husband. I needed a pep talk. I had six more miles to tackle (less than a 10k when I’m giving myself my own pep talk). My husband responded with words he knew I needed. Relax and Breathe and focus on your next turn. Enjoy yourself. My running partner responded with the reminder that I can do this.

Tears found me again. From mile 8 to 9, I silently cried more tears. The tears got lost with my sweat, but they were the release I needed. I can do this. I focused on the next trail marker. I had six more trail markers ahead of me – Long Creek passed Fox Run passed King Fischer detoured off onto Osprey back to Long Creek and final to 64th Street. I could handle each segment. With a few stops to regroup and to take a quick photo, I finished my run.

Mile 12 – Perfect excuse to stop and breathe

I’m back, and I feel better and stronger and more in awe of my body. I’m back with a new respect for what I’m about to tackle. While I left my quest for a marathon on terms I didn’t expect, I’ve learned. I’ve recovered. I’ve birthed a child (again). In those 11 hours of labor, I learned the power of my body. I learned to listen to my body. I learned to trust my body. I’m ready for this new journey to a full marathon. With gentleness and awareness, I’m ready to run.

The journey means so much more this time around.

10 miles into my 14 mile run
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7 thoughts on “Focus on your Next Turn

  1. Kudos from far far far away!
    I am staring at being selected for the Tokyo Marathon this February. Megan and I have been running, but I am reluctant to tackle the big miles again. My feet hurt. My back hurts. My calves burn. Every step feels kinda ‘unpleasant’

    Yet the sweat and effort always seems worth it when I am done. I play the ‘run to the next stop light’, lamp, intersection, tree, etc… game with myself. It is the only way to get through sometimes.

    I remember running 26 miles. Twice.

    I now dread the idea of just running 10. —

    I also remember the first time I ran 26.2 miles you and your running partner standing exactly where I needed you almost 2 years ago for the much needed moral support. I remember you were unable to do the run I was doing and yet you were so upbeat and supportive for me and my goal.

    Kudos to the two of you and Best wishes for the rest of your training!

  2. I am at work reading this post and all I want to do is put on a pair of running shoes and run out of my office and find the nearest trail!

    You have such a way of writing that lights a fire in me to want to get out there and chase my running potential. Thank your for that!

    Virtual high five to you my friend!

  3. It must feel so great to be back where you “were” pre-injury and pre-baby. Funny how we think we might never get back to where we were before kids but we do! It just takes time and commitment. Great job!

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