The 20 mile run, in my humble opinion, is the run that legitimizes marathon training. It is the distance you gradually build up to after you pay the hefty marathon registration fees and begin your 20 (or more) week training plan. Two weeks ago, I ran 18 miles under somewhat erratic conditions. The Pacific NW is experiencing heavy drought and we have had numerous fires throughout the summer resulting in unhealthy air conditions. Two of my long runs (14 miler and 16 miler) were ran under these toxic conditions, and it wasn’t until two weeks ago that the skies began clearing and breathing clean air was a little easier.
My 18 miles were quite an ordeal! I started running under cloudy cool skies which then turned into gray stormy skies with small rain drops briefly wetting the pavement my feet were landing on. Finally, there was crazy wind blowing sideways causing stacks of hay and dirt to roll across the road. At one point, the wind was blowing saw hard, I thought a twister was going to form right before my eyes and then my imagination started going wild wondering what my response would be if a twister did form before my eyes. I looked around and noticed there was nowhere for me to take cover and a picture of me and a cow flying in the air flashed before my eyes. For a couple of seconds, I felt my heart pounding really fast and had to quickly bring my mind back to reality and focus on my run. Once I put my imagination in check, I started chuckling at how easily it is to become paranoid and start thinking all sorts of irrational thoughts.
My 20 mile run not only took place along the beautiful Oregon Coast, but I also had the companionship of my husband for 4 out of the 20 miles. My husband is also running Marine Corps Marathon, but because of his demanding work schedule, he has not been able to log the amount of miles I have logged, and unfortunately, his training has been pretty inconsistent. Nonetheless, he is determined to cross the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon. His presence during the first four miles definitely helped set a good pace, and I found myself feeling extremely comfortable with a 9:30 pace the first sixteen miles of the run. Then, on mile 17, my hamstrings began screaming, “I’m hurting.” Even though I reminded myself running twenty miles was not supposed to be a comfortable experience, my hamstrings were more sore than the usual. And of course, once the mind receives the message of discomfort from the body, the mental-tug-of-war between quitting and pushing through the pain begins. Yes, I wanted to quit. I wanted to start walking. And I did start walking in order to stretch my legs. Because I know how hard I can be on myself, I had to reign in the negative voices creeping inside my head. I reminded myself this was a training run and that mental training was as critical as the physical training I was exerting into the run. Slowly but surely, I placed one foot in front of the other, reciting positive thoughts.
“The marathon is not supposed to be comfortable. Luisa, you could not run five months ago. People around the world would trade their heartaches and sorrows for your discomfort. You are running the distance people drive to work. I can do all things through Chris who strengthens me.”
The best feeling in the world came when my GPS finally indicated I had finally reached mile 20! I battled it out for 3 hours and 14 minutes and felt victorious despite my bloody blisters and sore hamstrings.
14 Years of Marriage
On September 8, my husband and I celebrated fourteen years of marriage! We really didn’t do anything to celebrate, so we are planning on celebrating in Washington D.C. and going out as a family to a nice restaurant.
I mentioned on this post how my mother had finally visited me and I am quite certain my tone came off as rather terse or resentful. I’d be lying if I said my little rant wasn’t filled with some resentment. There have been multiple attempts on my part to write about the conflicting relationship my mother and I had growing up and all the pain it has caused me for at least 22 years. Looking back, I am extremely glad I never wrote that post, because unbeknownst to me, the act of forgiving and self-healing was only possible because of my decision to purchase her the round trip ticket to visit me.
I don’t want to go into detail about how it happened, simply because it would take away the intimacy of the internal transformation that occurred within my spirit. Furthermore, I don’t know if the epiphany was of any significance to my mother. Thus, I prefer to let the moment permeate my inner being and use it as a force to help me rebuild the relationship I always wanted to have with her. I forgive my mother. I forgive the moments in which she let me down as a child and scarred my heart. I forgive the moments in which she placed her needs above mine and made me feel unworthy. I forgive the moments in which she let herself down and triggered internal fear within me of someday ending up like her. I forgive her for the moments in which she made me feel like my life was more of a nuisance rather than a blessing. I forgive her for the moments in which she never apologized after hurting me deeply with her words or actions. I forgive her because I believe she is sorry but doesn’t know how to say sorry and wants to desperately show me. I forgive her because I believe she did the best she could do for me with the limited amount of tools she had. I forgive her because she and I both need forgiveness in order to get out of the quick sand and continue paving our paths. I forgive her because even though she has never told me she loves me, I truly believe she does. I love my mother, and forgiving her has given me the opportunity to feel congruent. I don’t have to fight my inner demons that for years have resisted thoughts and behaviors that would define me as being exactly like her. As a mother myself, I am no longer afraid to love and raise my children with the irrational belief that if I mess up, it is because I am destined to have the same relationship with my daughters I had with my mother. My mother may not have been the mother I desperately wanted her to be, but she was the best mother she thought she was capable of being. I too will be the best mother I think I can be, and I reckon my daughters at some point of their lives will either embrace or resist what I offer them. Should they choose to resist, I do hope they offer me the gift of forgiveness.