New Territory: I am Doing it.

There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth…not going all the way, and not starting. ~Buddha

This journey I have been on to cross the finish line of a marathon really isn’t about the marathon. It is and it isn’t. The end goal is to run 26.2 miles, but the joy comes from the process. The learning comes from all the hours I’ve dedicated to running since I decided I wanted to conquer this distance. Today my run took me into new territory for the first time in this training cycle. Twenty miles were written on my training plan.

I’ve been babying a very angry hip since my 18 mile run. It’s ached. It’s been uncomfortable. It’s spread into my leg causing me to have a few private freak outs about stress fractures and injuries (again). I’ve been tiptoeing around my training. I ran an easy 10+ miles last weekend to test it out. It survived. I nursed it again all this week. Friday night I attending my yin yoga class. In a weird crazy bend your legs in opposite directions while seated, twist, and touch your head to the floor behind you pose, my left hip let out a scream. I modified and settled into the pose comfortable. For several minutes we sat in this pose, breathing, and sinking into it deeper. It touched the very spot that has been hurting for weeks. Post-yoga, my hip pain was gone. It only resurfaced slightly this morning as I set out to run.

At least we only got rain. I could have been snowed in this weekend.
At least we only got rain. I could have been snowed in this weekend.

My first 7 miles I ran solo. I hit the trails for a mental release. As I made my way towards the boat ramp, I came face to face with another runner. A small river separated us and blocked the trail. After a lot of search, neither one of us could find anything to create a temporary bridge. He took a leap of faith to a log and carefully walked to my side. I could do it too. He was much taller than me, and his legs were twice as long, but I could do it. I crossed the log and crossed my fingers. My leap of faith almost worked. I fell just short resulting in one very wet right shoe. At mile three of a 20 mile training run, I couldn’t worry about it too much. It had 17 miles to dry. At mile 5 on the trails, I came to another closed trail. High tide had washed it away. I decide to call it quits on the trails at this point since I was spending a lot of time thinking and coming up with alternative routes to mud puddles and missing trails.

The road is calling
The road is calling

At mile 7, my friend Rachael joined me for the rest of my run. We ran through a neighborhood I’ve never explored. I think I found the only hills in Virginia Beach. I think I also found my future training route when I’m preparing for my hilly half-marathon in Nashville. The next 10 miles flew by. She brought the most delicious orange with her that she shared. She saved me when I realized I was starving and forgot my fuel in my car. She held my extra stuff in the stroller she was pushing (Yes! She pushed her son the whole way! Super woman!). She kept me going (and talking and smiling) on this 20 mile run.

I’m at a cycle right now in my training where miles are becoming mentally tough. I’m having a hard time finding excitement leaving the house for 3+ hours of running. Once my feet are on the road, I’m okay. I’ve been training almost completely solo this time. I’ve experienced so many emotion filled runs in the past few months. I’ve carried the weight of loss and grief and sadness. This run was light. It was comforting. The miles started to get tough around mile 17, but I’ve shed everything that holds me back. There was no I can’t, what if I don’t, maybe I shouldn’t. Although I’ve hit a mental wall (for now), I’ve also transition to a place of just doing. I ran 20 miles because I can run 20 miles. Having my friend run with me gave me back the ability to enjoy every mile for what it was – easy and hard.

Today’s run, like every run so far, was exactly what I needed. I conquered 20 miles. I enjoyed the companionship of a good friend. I dismissed my worries about injury and not finishing this journey. I am doing it. One mile at a time. I am doing it. My marathon is right around the corner.

20.01 miles in 3:31:01 (10:33 pace) on trails, through a hilly neighborhood, and along the beach.

(Normally I don’t put much value on my moving pace versus average pace, but since today I spent a lot of time standing and thinking, I think it’s worth noting. Average Moving Pace: 10:19)

I still can't believe I ran 20 miles
I still can’t believe I ran 20 miles
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10 thoughts on “New Territory: I am Doing it.

  1. This is your time. This is your moment to allow the emotions to come and then release them as you feel the earth beneath your feet. Stay the course…. the goal is in the doing.

  2. Amazing! You can always make your body do what you mind has set. I swear it is 90% mental! Not meaning you should run when you are injured but we can always go further than we think we can!! I am glad you have an outlet for your feelings and a super nice friend to join you. If only we lived in the same city!!

  3. Not only are you TOTALLY DOING IT, you are ROCKING IT!
    I am so, so proud of you! I am also beaming that you are loving and embracing the JOURNEY to the marathon. That’s what you will look back on once it is all said and done. The race is just the cherry on top!

  4. Ahhh!!!! Look at you, Ms. 20 Miler!!!!!! I know marathon training can make it feel impossible to get your butt out the door and get the miles in (and seriously, it can be incredibly difficult to find the motivation to spend 3.5 hours running), but I know how much this journey has meant to you and I am so so so so proud of how well your training is coming!!!! Take care of that hip (says the idiot that ran a marathon on a bum knee) and savor the coming weeks. Pretty soon you’re going to be a marathoner :).

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