10 miles better than before …

I had the privilege to run 10 miles this morning.

Privilege?

Yes. Privilege.

My training called for 10 miles but I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I can run that far again. Seriously, every step is a gift, be it 1 or 15,000. They are all precious to me.

I absolutely love running 10 miles. That distance means something to me. I vividly remember the first time I ran 10 miles. I felt like I’d finally made it into the coveted roll of a distance runner. It was far and my body didn’t fail me. It was a monumental day for me. To this day I don’t like running long runs any less that that. It’s my “go to” distance when I’m not necessarily training for anything in particular. The last time I ran 10 miles was just a few days before I got sick. Earlier today I looked back at my run in October on my running app and I discovered something I didn’t expect to. I ran those 10 miles in October slower than I ran them today. WOW. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I have felt so “behind”. I have felt like I have been struggling to find my way back to the old me. I’ve been frustrated at times, wondering if I was ever going to be as strong as I once was. Is that even possible so soon after being that sick, if ever? Well, I guess I got my answer today.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are better than before!!!

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An unbreakable spirit at the beginning … again …

When I first started racing it was very important to me that I accomplish every distance in order. So I ran a 5K. Then I ran a 10K. Then I ran a half marathon. And then I ran a marathon. If someone were to have made me do those out of order the anxiety would have given me a heart attack. No joke. I am THAT person.

Distance running was always my goal. But I have the utmost respect for every distance. I’ll be honest, I think running a 5K is way harder then running a half marathon or marathon. The strategy required and the stress that is packed into those 3 miles is incredible!

Anyway, today I set out with one running goal. To run a 5K. I didn’t care how fast or how slow I finished it. I just wanted to finish. It has been a hellacious 7 weeks since I last ran that far and I really wasn’t sure if I could do it. But I did. And it was really hard. But that’s OK because it’s over with. I got past that distance hurdle, again. It came with a lot of anxiety and quite a few tears, but I got past it.

I am blessed to be able to run again. I definitely wasn’t able to do this 7 weeks out the last time I had meningitis. I’m not sure where all this strength is coming from, amidst all the fatigue I still feel. God really humbles you. His gifts honestly make no sense sometimes. But I am utterly grateful that I am being given another chance to chase my dreams. Dreams that seem so big right now that they appear foolish. But then I remind myself that I had those same feelings of foolishness the mornings that I stood on all those start lines for the very first time. So are these dreams foolish now? Nah. I’d like to believe that they are just proof of an unbreakable spirit.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you know that this is just the beginning … again!!!

Humbly and gratefully back at it …

After six weeks off of running I ran two miles today. It was probably the most emotional run I’ve ever had in my life. There were many times over the past six weeks that I really wondered if I would ever run again. I was physically miserable and the thought left me a crying mess. My friends and family urged me to be patient, that I would know when I was ready. I was skeptical at best.

But this morning I laced up and ran. It was wonderful. I capped myself at two miles. I figured that was a good place to start and I let my body decide my pace. It felt fantastic to be out there! I honestly could have run at least double what I did, but I am not pushing it. I am not risking injury or illness. No way! Not gunna happen. And I’ll be honest, I want to savor every minute of this “comeback”. I am not taking one step for granted. Each is truly a gift. I am so thankful to be given the opportunity to run once more. It is a joy I wasn’t sure I would ever feel again. I want to appreciate it. Feel it. Own it. No. I am not pushing or rushing any of this. I’m simply going to enjoy it.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are humbly and gratefully back at it!!!

Freaky runners …

I had another strange experience just as I left my house to go on my run this morning. I saw a man I have never seen before. I’ll be honest, he startled me just because of his presence at 5:45 in the morning. I immediately started thinking he could be up to no good because he was walking super fast dressed in jeans and a button down shirt. When he saw me he was friendly and said “good morning”. I replied back “good morning”. But then he said something that really confused me. He said, “Now remember, TWO-SIX-TWO.” At this point any benefit of the doubt I gave this guy was out the window. HOW ODD! I thought why on earth would I want to remember THAT and WHY was he telling me to?!?! I must have looked utterly perplexed. He looked at me and repeated slowly TWO-SIX-TWO in an almost questioning way. When I still wasn’t understanding he said, “Your shirt.” Well, I guess I was tired this morning because I completely forgot that I had on my Nike Women’s Marathon Finishers shirt that has a HUGE neon yellow 26.2 on it. I immediately said “OHHHH!” and felt a little bad for thinking this guy was a complete WACKO. Then he asked me, “Is 26.2 a marathon?” I said, “Yes, it’s the distance you must run to complete a marathon.” AAAAAAND by the look on his face the tables suddenly turned. HE was no longer feeling like HE was the crazy person in our conversation.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t look like a FREAK!!! 

 

I was right … 

I downloaded a new fitness app. Nike+ Fuel. It’s straight up awesome. It tracks my activity level and compares it to my history on previous days. Which I love … except that when it comes to things like this I can be a little hard on myself. I know me, if I see that I earned 10,000 fuel in one day then I will want to reach that level or more the following day. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad goal, however, as a distance runner this is completely unrealistic. There are days when I will run 10, 15, or even as much as 22 miles on a training run! And let’s not forget about race days of 26.2 miles! I can’t outdo THAT, day in and day out! THIS is why I have never downloaded apps like this before. I can’t win. And I don’t like it. YET … here I am, day two of my NEW app … and jonesing to earn more fuel than I did yesterday. OY. When will I learn to listen to myself?

Well, I hope you all have a day where you find out that you were right!!!

10 miles and finding my long lost friend … in Living and Running in LaLa Land

Today I ran my first 10-miler since November. And it was ugly.

I had a great running “season” in 2015. I PRed my half marathon distance. That felt amazing! I qualified for the USA Half Marathon. Twice! And I got to run the Twin Cities Marathon with my dear friends and running mentors. EPIC!

But it was a rough year too. I broke my foot and struggled with pain and the fear of re-injury from June through November. And as excited as I was to have qualified for it at mile 9 at the USA Half Marathon in November, I realized something. I was DONE. Perhaps it was because I forgot my hat and sunglasses in my hotel room and had just turned into the blazing sun, but I could think of about a BAZILLION things I would have rather been doing at that very moment. And none of them involved running.

With Sid and Reese’s health issues at the end of the year and trailing into the first part of 2016 I decided that it was time for a break. No distance running for me for a while. No races. Just running for the love of it. I knew that when the time was right to “work” my miles again I would know it. It would happen naturally, like finding a long lost friend.

And it did.

I can’t even remember when my running became training again. I have so many training schedules swimming around in my head now that I find that I do them without much thought. But regardless of when, I started to “work” my miles again. Slowly. Climbing gradually. And not making any of it easy. I took to the hills. This time a route that changed up multiple times within one mile. And I repeated it. Over. And over. And over again. Talk about muscle confusion! I did one hilly run after another. Week after week my miles climbed. And the struggle was REAL.

For me running 10 miles is THAT distance. The one that personally makes me feel like a distance runner. Ever since I started running distance I have felt that if I don’t run at least 10 miles on my long run, I should probably just not even get out of bed. I’m weird. This is a ME thing. It’s the place I’ve found where I fit best in my own skin and in my own mind. It means something to me. As athletes we all have that ONE physical threshold. The weights we lift. The calories we burn. The miles we run. The seemingly meaningless pressures we put on ourselves for reasons outsiders never quite understand. They are, perhaps, the amor we wear to better fight our demons, to deal with our struggles … and the things that others can’t see. Our reasons WHY may only make sense to us. And that’s OK with me.

As difficult as it was I will count today as a victory. I found my long lost friend. The miles of solitude, self reflection, pain, tears and utter joy. I plan on hanging with these miles for a while. With time I will run them better and they will ultimately make me stronger. Which is good … because I have some pretty lofty dreams to chase.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you run YOUR 10 miles!!!

Pack lightly …

Running local races ROCKS! Some races, no matter what distance they may be, I feel like I have to pack for a month. It’s like I don’t trust the stores in the area to have what I need, God forbid, I forget something. But races super close to my home I don’t feel like I need all the hooplah. It’s like I can just roll out of bed and run. And I love it!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you pack lightly!!!