And just like that, my Richmond marathon training cycle has hit its peak. It hit its climax with a 20 mile run on Monday.
If you followed along during my training for the Shamrock marathon earlier this year, you know that training was defined by heart-break and loss. Two months before race day, I lost both my father-in-law and my aunt/best friend to cancer. Marathon training healed my heart in so many ways. Race day came and I fell into a pocket of comfort. I found support from so many sources during every step of those 26.2 miles. I was amazed by the marathons ability to reflect exactly what I needed in life: support and acceptance. That race shaped me.
I didn’t know what to expect from this marathon training cycle. Life was good. My head and heart were in a good place. I thought this would be an average training cycle. It ended up being unconventional at best. It started with a bum hip. I dealt with an aching foot. I lacked confidence. I held on too tightly to self-imposed goals. I tried to control every aspect of every run every day until I cracked (at the Crawlin Crab half marathon). In the following weeks, the crack became deeper. My desire to run slowly started fading until I decided to quit. The night my husband and I stayed up late to iron out all the hiccups in our life together, I saw clearly what I needed to embrace in order to keep progressing forward. I needed to learn to adapt.
Race day may not be perfect, but I can make it perfect for me. My marriage with my husband is real. It’s not perfect. We argue. We nag. We forgot that our relationship is perfect for us, but he loves me better than anyone and I absolutely adore him. Motherhood is hard. I forget to sign homework papers. I forget to put money into lunch accounts. I count down the minutes until bedtime. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for me. My job isn’t perfect. It’s unfulfilling and unmotivating, but its flexibility is perfect for me. My running is never perfect. Runs rarely go according to plan, but I’ve learned to run what my body is asking for on every single run.
Somehow this training cycle showed me exactly what I need right now. I have to adapt. Plan A may turn into Plan Z, but I can make Plan Z perfect for me.
I have run after being up all night with a teething baby. I have run in the only 30 minutes of free time I have in a day. I have run to pick up Cole from school. I’ve taken vacation days at work to make long runs work for my family. I have juggled kids and a husband’s out-of-town schedule and working full-time. I’ve juggled swim practice and soccer. I’ve juggled family dinners, homework, and play.
My shamrock marathon showed me just how lucky I am to have amazing support in my family and friends. This marathon is showing me that I’m not perfect, but I’m enough. I have been adapting since I logged my first training mile. I plan to do the same in my race.
Perfect or not, I will get to the finish line knowing I ran with a happy heart because I made the best of whatever race day has to offer. I believe in myself. I know I’m worth fighting for. Race day is about piecing it all together.
11 days until Richmond.
The timing of Brene Brown’s course has been perfect. Follow along on Instagram if you want to track my weekly journal progress. It’s been quite a journey. I’m struggling to define it with words.