I don’t know why I love training for the marathon distance. I’ve always been one to take on a challenge, as long as it’s reasonable; training for the 26.2 miles, for me, is reasonable. It lets me do a lot of something that I really enjoy. In fact, training for a marathon brings out that addictive side of my personality, the side that lets me eat, sleep and dream running for months. And it gives me a fantastic excuse to get out of the house and away from the dudes for an hour or two – or three. This summer, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve said “I have to go for a run” and the boys just nod and smile.
Last week, something different happened. My mileage increased, I felt the typical aches and pains and, without warning, I didn’t want to run. Shocking. It wasn’t so much that I did not want to run but I was afraid to run. Whether it has been my asthma reacting to the muggy weather, a bit of dehydration or both, I have had a few runs which just have not gone the way I wanted them to. On Thursday morning, I woke up and just didn’t feel like going to my Lions Valley Athletics practice that night; I felt like that would just be setting myself up for failure.
My reasons were simple. I didn’t want to run in the heat; I was tired of it. Nor did I want to push myself through a tempo in the heat, especially after ending a hot run a few kilometres early the night before. I had had it with feeling sick at the end of a workout. And I didn’t want to run with the guys and finish last – again. I needed to run on my own – no pressure. So I skipped practice.
My oldest had nothing planned that night and he offered to ride his bike with me in the last part of my run. So I headed out in the early evening and ran 11K on my own. When The Dude met me, he was ready with Gatorade and water. I only needed a bit of Gatorade; it was his company – silent but supportive – for the last 5 kilometres that lit a spark back under my feet.
He rode ahead most of the time, only stopping to take a few pictures. As I followed him, I found myself feeling like a runner again. I felt strong, I felt fast, and I was happy. And somewhere along the last 5K of my run, I found my confidence again.
Although I still don’t know exactly what it was, I needed to prove something to myself. Looking back, those 16 kilometres were a turning point in my marathon training. They made me realize that my training is going well, I’m stronger than I think, and I was indeed ready for a long tempo run on Saturday morning.
More importantly, though, it made me realize that I have the support of my family while I chase my Chicago dream. My boys aren’t just giving me the smile and nod when I tell them “I have to go for a run.” They get it. They have seen the time, sweat, dehydration, aches and all the challenges that come with marathon training. But they have also seen how important this goal is to me and my drive that has gone into reaching it. Now that I see that, I have different kind of energy and a new focus to carry me through the last 7 weeks of my training.
#Chasingmydreams while #ontheroadtochicago.