SPRING BREAK! The morning chaos was on hiatus this week. My husband asked for the week off, so it made for an extra sweet week having him home as well. Three of my mornings were filled with Crossfit and I got to run outside 5 out of 6 days! This was an awesome 15th week of Marathon Training! Only seven more weeks to go.
Four miles. Did Crossfit in the morning and immediately headed out for a four mile easy run. My Crossfit friend, Bene, ran one mile with me and I had three morning miles to myself.
Seven and a half miles. Did Crossfit in the morning, went back home to switch out shoes, and took a couple of breaths before heading out to the track. The weather was miserable – rain, crazy winds, and cold. I felt great once my run was over. I was also really hungry, and made one of my favorite meals: pancakes!
Five miles. Did Crossfit in the morning and once again, headed outside to complete five slow miles.
My sister-in-law, her husband and my nephews visited us from Seal Rock, Or for the first part of the week, so we took them to see Wallowa Lake on Tuesday afternoon. The lake was empty, so we had a chance to explore and enjoy it all to ourselves!
Nine miles. My husband and I decided to head out to the Oregon Coast on Wednesday afternoon, and I didn’t start my nine mile run until almost 9 am. Opted to complete this long run on the treadmill because I figured it would pressure me to go faster, and it did. Once my run was over, I rushed into the shower and we took the long way to the Oregon Coast.
Because I’ve been pining to visit the Painted Hills since moving to Eastern Oregon, my husband thought this was the perfect opportunity! Wish we would have had the whole day to explore, because it was absolutely beautiful!
Four miles. Not only did I get the opportunity to run in the Oregon Coast, I got a chance to run with my husband! My legs were hurting after yesterday’s nine mile run and sitting in a vehicle for more than 12 hours!
We wanted to explore the coast, so we ventured out to Cape Perpetua. The weather was what I consider stereotypical Oregon Coast weather: rain, wind, and fog.
Mentally prepared on Friday night for the twenty miles waiting for me on Saturday morning. I also physically prepared with a massive pasta, grilled chicken, broccoli, spinach, fresh tomatoes, and pico de gallo (for salsa) dinner meal!
Twenty miles!!!! These twenty miles had been on my radar since training day 1! There were all sorts of mixed feelings. Excitement and uncertainty were the most dominant feelings rushing through my mind and body. How would my body respond? Would I lose my mental bearing and end up walking? There was only one way to find out.
Water, Nuun Energy Tablets, Huma Energy Gels, and banana walnut cookie were in my Orange Mud water pack.
After going back and forth on the course, I finally decided to run my 20 miles on the Newport Marathon course. The Newport Marathon was the first marathon I ever ran (2010). That experience was humbling, humiliating, and infuriating. There were probably more tears and blisters than there was sweat throughout my body. Because I failed to properly train and having only run 10 miles (on the treadmill) as my longest run, I suffered times ten the mental and physical anguish along every step of the course. After the first 16 miles, all I could think of doing was quitting. I think the hundreds of people who passed me along the way felt sorry for me and tried to encourage me to finish.
This time around, I wanted to redeem myself for at least 20 miles of the course. Most importantly though, I really wanted to ENJOY myself.
The first six miles were spent messing with my gear. I had to stop and tie my shoe. Subsequently, a giant black cloud dumped water along the course and I had to waterproof my smart phone because I was not expecting rain. At mile 5.5, the rain had stopped, the sun made its presence, and the humidity was thick, so I stopped again to take off my jacket and tie it on a bungee cord attached to my water pack.
It took a good six miles to mentally settle down and find my stride. Once I did, my run was nothing but pure pleasure! I was able to observe the beauty of the course that I failed to enjoy back in 2010. The weather, the water, the breeze, the views, they were with me with each stride, and I felt like I belonged out there. So many times I’ve put myself down for being slow and feeling like I was a phony runner. Today though, I felt so much grace. I had the opportunity to reflect on how my mind and body had evolved into a stronger, sharper vessel. What was more amazing was the discovery that I finally felt like I could tame the negative voices inside my head. For years I berated myself. For years I felt like I was never good enough. With each and every task I endeavored, I wanted to prove something to others: my self worth, my mental aptitude, my charming personality. And despite all the efforts I placed on external approvals, I never seemed to fulfill the shallow void of impressing others in order to be liked and accepted.
The negative voices though were not present this time around. In fact, they’ve been absent for some time now. It’s become clear to me I can disown the voices as easily as I own them. As far as running is concerned, there will always be someone faster and stronger than me. But my goal has never been to be the fastest or the strongest. It’s always been to be the fastest and strongest me. And regarding approval, it’s only I who can approve of how valuable I choose to be. At the end of my life, I will be held accountable not so much by how hard I tried to impress others, but by how I treated others. I loved how these twenty miles proved to me that I’m on the right path!!!
In 2010, I crossed the Newport Marathon in 5:46 minutes. Today, I ran twenty miles in 3:26! This means even if I were to have walked the last 6.2 miles of the marathon, I probably still would have crossed the finish line stronger than I did in 2010.