As a single footstep will not make a path on Earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thought we wish to dominate our lives ~ Thoreau
This morning started off rocky. Another run was delayed due to sleeping or lack there of by a certain baby. Somehow he knows. He knows when I’m going to leave for a run, and he insists on keeping me close to home. He has slept great all week. He doesn’t always sleep bad. He must sense my energy the night before a long run. He must hear me making plans to meet Heidi. He must feel the need to remind me that I’m still on his schedule. As I was ready to slide into my running shoes and out the front door, he woke up. I tiptoed into his room to nurse him. I tried to put him back to bed. He had other plans. Two hours later I was headed to the park. Instead of meeting Heidi for the back half of my run, I meet her for the first half.
In those two hours before I ran, I was ready to throw in the towel. For a moment I felt like I was trying to juggle too much. I felt too ambitious. I felt a little crazy. I want it all. I want to provide for my baby as he needs me, but I want to run. I want to run long miles along trails. I want to run with friends for therapeutic conversations. I want to run solo for companionship with myself. I want to snuggle my baby on Saturday mornings.
Chet was quickly tucked into be for his nap, and I was able to slip out the door (Christian was home this whole time just to be clear. I don’t leave my children home alone!).
I ran the first five miles with Heidi. I purged my thoughts. I confessed my desires and expressed the tug-of-war I feel between running and mothering. She listened and dedicated her run to letting me process all of my thoughts. She supported me. She reminded me that I’m not crazy. She reminded me that I don’t want too much. She reminded me that I can juggle it all, but it takes flexibility. As I said goodbye to her, I felt better and recommitted to these not so crazy goals of mine. I can be a mom and a runner.
As my thoughts grew clearer and stronger, my running followed. My legs got faster. My breathing became easy. I ran 7 more miles on unmarked and marked trails. I ran an unmarked trail to a secluded beach. I followed the shore to another secluded trail. My footprints were the only set on the sand. The clarity I found running with Heidi supported me for the next 7 miles. Maybe Chet knew I need support on the first half my run instead of the back half. Maybe he kept me home on purpose.
With a clear head and surprisingly fresh legs, I settled into the second half of my run. I took in the beauty of this place I call home. I smiled knowing all three of my boys were home driving each other crazy as only boys can do. I smiled knowing that this moment belonged to me.
12.2 miles (plus 1 walked) – 2:22:18 with my last 3.2 miles in the 9s!
Week 4 of marathon training is complete. I checked almost everything off my training plan missing only a 3 mile run but checking both strength training and yoga of my plan. I’m four weeks in, and I’m already learning more about life than I am about running. I’m learning flexibility. I’m learning grace. I’m learning strength both physical and emotional.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir
As I ran today, the trails looked different from a month ago. They have embraced autumn and are transitioning towards winter. The trees are bare. They are exposed. They’ve shed there outer layers to survive the winter so they can bloom again in spring. What a perfect time to train for a marathon. This fall and this winter, I’m learning from the world around me. As I run mile after mile, I’m learning how important it is to remain strong and rooted even when I’m exposed. I’m learning that when all my protective layers are shed, my core is strong. I’m learning to bend with the winds. I’m learning, and I know I will bloom brighter come spring.