Today’s run broke me. It didn’t break me physically, but it exposed my already broken heart. My father-in-law started hospice care today. I still can’t come to terms with the loss my aunt.
Let yourself be gutted. Let it open you up. Start here. ~ Cheryl Strayed
I was drawn to the trails today. I needed to be surrounded by the world that I love. The views comforted me, but the trails with the pretty views are physically challenging. My legs didn’t want to go slow either. I tried to hold back knowing I was entering new territory today with 17 miles. I couldn’t (at first).
Mile 1: 9:57
Mile 2: 10:50
Mile 3: 10:40
Two and a half miles in, I was falling apart. I doubted my ability. I didn’t think I was mentally strong enough today to run.
Mile 4: 12:16 (crazy dunes and man-made steps that are unrunable)
Mile 5: 10:37
At mile 4.5, I had to stop. I laid my head on top of a bridge. I cried. I cried until my shoulders shook.
Mile 6: 10:12
Mile 7: 9:58
Mile 8: 9:52
Mile 9: 10:06
At mile 8.5 I reached my turn around point. I can do this. I’m half way. I’m strong. I’m running strong. I can do this. Craving more comfort, I ran 2 more miles back to the park entrance in the sand.
Mile 10: 10:37
Mile 11: 10:33
I left the beach, and I had found my way back to the park entrance. Before I left the sand, I needed something. I needed a shell in my hand to remind me to keep going. I had a long boring flat 3 mile trail ahead of me. I have to do this. Six more miles.
I have to.
Mile 12: 11:07
Mile 13: 11:04
Mile 14: 10:44
Mile 15: 10:50
That long boring 3 mile stretch broke me. It cracked me right in half. My hips were burning. My faster early miles on trails caught up to me. I stopped. I sat on a bench, and I cried. I cried hard. After I got myself back together, I kept on. F&*$! F*&$! F*$&! I hate this trail. I hate cancer.
Mile 16: 10:36
Mile 17: 11:03
As I made the final turn back towards my car, I saw two woman just ahead of me. It took me a half mile to catch up. As I did, I knew I needed them to get back to my car. I was choking on tears. I couldn’t stop trembling from emotion. I needed a band-aid. As I got closer, they moved to let me pass. I told them they were pulling me, and I asked to join them (something I would never do in normal life). I introduced myself to these two woman, and I ran the last mile and half with them back to my car. They saved me. The are running the Shamrock Marathon too and were running my exact same route today but in reverse. They where exactly were I needed them today.
Today’s run broke me. It cracked me in half. I don’t know why I do this. I even doubted running a marathon somewhere along that long Cape Henry trail. I told myself I didn’t want to do this next weekend. When I sat down next to my car before driving home, I cried more. I’m looking for strength to get through this time of my life. Even though I don’t know how to do this, I’m embracing it. And when my run came to a close, I was amazed that I did it. I wanted to turn around at mile 2.5, but I kept going for 14.5 more. I did it. I don’t know how, but I just have to keep going. I cried when I needed to, I reached out when I needed it most, and I made myself proud. I proved to myself that I am strong. I will be running 18 next weekend. I will keep going because I love it. Where else can you live a lifetime of emotions in 3 hours? I’m starting here.
If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. ~ Martin Luther King Jr
17.03 miles. 3:01:24. 10:39 pace – trails, beach, and boardwalk (run time. does not include cry time. I took an extra 20 minutes to cry.)