Don’t ever let anyone tell you that running a marathon is easy. They are lying. They are leaving out the months of training that come before the marathon; the true test. The adversity and sacrifices one endures to prepare themselves, mentally and physically for a marathon is beyond fathomable. Four months ago, I never would have dreamed that I’d be a marathon runner. I had only really enjoyed running for about a year, and could barely make it through a half marathon. But the runner’s high was in full effect, when I hit submit on June 22, 2015, and there was no turning back.
This was my first training run of an 18 week program. It was supposed to be three miles, but I obviously don’t know how to follow directions. In all the excitement, I just ran. I remember looking at the training schedule, and seeing everyone who was training for the Chicago && NYC Marathon, running 18 mile training runs, and thinking, “I can’t do that!” Then the day came where I had to run 14. That one mile more, than a half marathon distance, killed me. I was cramping. I was stiff and exhausted, but I did it. I made it one mile more than I ever have. And that became my motto for the duration of my training.
Eventually, it was the week for 18 miles. It was my time to shine. My time to feel what all my friends felt after accomplishing such a huge feat. And boy did 18 feel great. I felt unstoppable, like I was going to show this marathon who is boss. My confidence was through the roof. I was blown away by the pace I was able to maintain, and by maintain, I mean it felt easy, like that was the pace I was meant to run. This coming from an almost 10 minute mile pace during my 15 mile run. I was getting stronger, I was getting faster, I was becoming a confident runner, who knew she was capable of doing big things. For once in my marathon journey, I felt like everything was going to be okay.
Fast forward to this past weekend. Ever since my 20 mile training run, which too, went well, I have been having this foot pain. It makes its presence around 7 miles, and by 10 miles, has me crippling over in pain. Can I ignore it, and run through the pain? Of course. I did that two weeks ago, and achieved a PR in my half marathon time. But for two days later, I could barely walk. I knew I could not push through the pain for another 13 miles. I was beginning to lose my confidence, and my heart was being boiled over with doubt. My runs last week were still up to par, but my heart was breaking. Yesterday, I set out to do another 20, but was afflicted in every way.
I was torn between fighting the pain, and completing the task ahead of me, or quitting, and keeping my sights on the big picture. As I type this, I am brought back to tears, because it pains me so badly knowing I have come so far, to let an injury that doctors cannot see, stop me in my tracks. No matter what happens, this journey has been about so much more than crossing the finish line. In fact, the real journey lies in the months leading up to the big day. In the early mornings and late nights, running into the sunrise, or chasing the moon in the evening. It’s been about the people who have touched our lives along the way. The people who experienced the same roller coaster ride we were on. It’s been about the growth, mentally and physically. It’s been about overcoming some of our biggest fears && finding ourselves. I hold an immense amount of fortitude in my heart, and my faith in the Lord will see me through.
As it says in Corinthians 4: 8-10; “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
I will be taking at least a week off from running. A week to rest my body and reset my thoughts. A week to heal and mend. A week to reflect and give thanks to how far I have come. A week to pray and focus on other areas of my life. This will be the hardest week of my marathon training. A true test of my commitment. I will come out stronger. I will finish what I started. I am a fighter. I am determined. I will run the race that God has set before me. I will not be stopped.
I just want to thank all of you who have supported me, encouraged me, and continuously followed me along this crazy journey, as if to always be right there with me. I love you all and am truly inspired by the running community. We are one of a kind. A force to be reckoned with. Don’t let adversities define your life. Hold fast to the courage that sets your soul on fire.