Wow that last journal entry feels like years ago. It has been a very challenging Spring to say the least. In terms of running, I have some accomplishments lately that I am VERY proud of..and have encountered a few setbacks. I could probably give up right now, and everyone would understand. I have valid excuses to drop out, but I won't.
The ING half marathon was a huge running milestone. My long run was up to 16 miles, so I knew I would be able to complete the race before I hit the starting line. That made all the difference in my attitude on race day. I had completely underestimated just how many people ran in this race...which makes me aware of how many people are out there running long distances like I do. I think 3 of my facebook friends popped up with ING pictures that I had NO idea ran at all. I guess I am a bit more starved for attention because everyone I know knew I was doing it....and people I dont know as well. Thats just me. I had an entire team of friends and family out there to support me, it was an awesome feeling to be loved that much. Based on my practice runs I told them to expect me to cross the finish line somewhere around 2:15-2:30hrs after the start.
Matthew and I just hopped in a corral and got going. He is a much more naturally talented runner than I am, and in much better shape, so it is a testament to the kind of selfless person he is that he stayed with me the entire race. He actually took a bathroom break and then sprinted a mile to catch up with me. He was talking about staying with the 4hour full marathon pacer to try and come in under 2 hrs for the half. I didnt argue with him, but I thought he was kinda shooting for the stars with me. I had terrible side stitches for the first 8 miles. I decided that maybe if I didnt acknowledge them they would get bored and go away. They finally did.
The crowds and bands on the sidelines were so much fun. I did not know the course, and half the time hardly recognized which part of Atlanta I was even running through. Matthew just kept pushing me to keep pace, and so I did. By mile 12 I was sort of vocalizing wierd sighs and moans as I panted along. I had made a new playlist for the day, and it had pretty much run its course... until I stumbled upon "TNT" by AC/DC.
When Grant and Griffin were little football players, we used to jam out to this song full blast in the caravan to away games. They were always so excited at the build up to "I'm a power load!!!!....WATCH ME EXPLODE!!!"..and we would all scream the lyrics and laugh hysterically and hop out of the car ready to kick some serious butt. Those moments with my kids are pure and deeply touching to me because they belong to the four of us, happy and without the sense of loss that hangs over so much that we do. I imagined my kids waiting at the finish line, and my second wind came through. I finished in under 2 hours. I would not have done that if not for Matthew, he made the experience profound by planting the seed for that accomplishment. I still can't believe I kept that pace for that distance.
ING was my race of choice, and The Granite Grinder trail half marathon was Matthew's. It was two weeks after the ING, and a completely different environment and experience. It was at the Conyers horse park. The crowd was totally chill, easy going. There was a jam band playing in the field at the start. I looked around and noticed I was practically the only person with an ipod. It died less than a mile in. I really wanted Matthew to run this race at his pace, so he was off just about the time my ipod died. It was just me and my thoughts that were heavy and consumed with much hurt and confusion in my personal life. 13.1 miles of hills, and tree root terraces, and mud puddles, and granite slopes... that course was hellacious. Nothing like the easy peasy trails of Kennesaw Mountain. There were parts that you just couldnt possiby run..and by the second half I was walking up most of the hills. Everyone was, they were hella steep and chunky and truly killer. I made friends with some girls from Augusta around mile 7 and we took turns encouraging eachother and leading the pace to the finish. At the finish line we crossed holding hands. I love runners. They had the best food and free beer at the finish line. My time was 2:32. The extra half hour from my ING time speaks volumes about that course that I am super proud to have completed. holy crap.
After that race my stress level continued to spike, and with that heart burn, which then triggers my ulcers to flare, which then makes it painful for me to eat. When I can't eat, I can't really run..when I can't run I can't build mileage. I missed three long runs in a row and most of my weekday runs that should have happened in between...and thus marathon mileage that I worked so hard to build up. I was up to nearly 19 miles..and am now back down to about 13. I am struggling to get out there, but I am trying...really really trying. My race season is pretty much over until Fall so it is a good time for me to just relax and enjoy my runs. I need them right now.
The silver lining of that set back is that I did run in a 5k race last weekend, and I placed 4th overall female with a personal record time of 21:18. That was a quiet victory for me in the middle of so much loss and sadness. My kids were there, and my dearest friends and it was a day that will stand out in my memory for the rest of my life. Once my Aunt Saralene told me that when things are really tough you have to just go ahead and be sad and let God love you. I have never been able to do that before now. I prayed before this race, and thanked him for the positive loving support of the people that were there with me, and then I just ran as hard and as fast as I could. I was hurting and sad, but I felt the love. It is all around me. I find so many things I need by running.
Soooo, I went back out yesterday and struggled through the 13 miles I mentioned earlier. My heart is raw and broken, and I am shaky and weak. I just walked when I had to, and set my mind to do atleast 13 miles. If I can do 13 miles than I have not lost everything. I did 13 miles. Two weekends from now I will do more..and I will get back on track for the full marathon in the Fall. I have just worked too hard and made too many sacrifices to lose something that means so much to me. I'm a power load...and although I am not exploding much right now, I am still putting one foot in front of the other.
All I need, is what I want.
3 years ago