Well, I’m plagued with a head cold that has me laying on the couch, eyes fluttering in and out of sleep, nose dripping, and a tight chest that is begging for a little relief. I figured that if I’m stuck here unable to run or cross train, I might as well put something of substance out into the world. I mentioned in my last post that I’m not doing weekly recaps anymore, mainly because it was just a run down of my training which anyone can find on my Strava or Garmin profile. I usually label them with what type of workout I had to do that day and how it went. Instead this is more of just a reflection of where I’m at and how I’m feeling during my training cycle.
This past weekend, Tony & I celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary. My gracious in-laws took our children so that we could have 24 hours to just enjoy each others company without the constant nagging for gold fish or someone singing the Baby Shark song for the 100th time. It was quiet and peaceful, an opportunity to just soak each other in. As we were driving around town, my sweet husband started asking me about my training. or my big mouth just went on and on about my training. Who knows. Marathon training sometimes consumes us, it consumes me. I live it, I breath it, 24 hours a day I dedicate to putting in something to my marathon. I try to imagine that each hour of sleep is coins I’m putting in the marathon bank. Every 20 minutes of foam rolling, stretching, each yoga session, they all go towards the marathon bank. I want that bank as full as possible when the time comes. So there I sit, rambling on and on about my paces, my latest long run. My husband likely daydreaming of video games but nodding in delight, listening to my thoughts.
I started telling Tony all the ways I stay motivated and some of the techniques I’ve been practicing. I’ve read that we should try to envision the finish line when we are in a long or hard training run. It’s a technique used to train our mind, not just our body. So when I’m on my long runs and I’m down to my last mile, I will often completely zone out, clear my head, and listen to my breath. With each breath, I start to bring in a piece of Chicago. I’ll start to picture the crowds lined up along the course cheering, the small smirk on my face knowing that I’m just a stranger to these people but yet they are on my side routing for me to be successful, the sounds of the children screaming in joy for the runners who acknowledge their adorable signs. I’ll picture myself getting closer to the finish line, seeing the banner, knowing that I’m approaching relief and accomplishment. The crowds get louder, the adrenaline that has left for likely the last 10 miles kicks back in, my turnover of my feet gets faster, and my arms open up wide as I come across the 26.2 mile mark, letting that feeling of pride wash over my body before I likely collapse into a puddle on the ground because marathons are fucking hard.
I told Tony though that this week I chose a different point to imagine. It’s not a secret that I’m aiming to qualify for Boston. Actually I’m aiming to beat my qualifying time by around 5 minutes. I dream big, I work hard, I set what may seem like impossible goals. But if you’re dreams don’t scare you, then you aren’t dreaming big enough. During my long run on Saturday, I did what I always do. I turned off my ears, my eyes, the noise inside my head. I started my envisioning of Chicago but it wasn’t the finish line. I envisioned mile 22. Oddly specific, I know. To me, mile 22 is where I’m going to know. I’m going to know how I’m feeling, I’m going to have crossed that bridge of “hitting the wall,” I’m going to know if my dreams are about to become a reality. Mile 22, I picture the crowds, I picture Tony standing there cheering for me. I look at my watch to see my current pace, I feel the strength in my legs, in my lungs, in my heart. I glance at Tony and give him the biggest smile, one spread so far across my face even he knows that I’m saying, “I’ve got this.” I nod my head to acknowledge that I’m not letting anything stop me and I’ll see him at the finish line to celebrate.
To be completely honest with you, when I envision these moments, I actually start crying while I’m running. That’s how I know that I’m fully engulfed in the moment. My heart rate will rise, my speed will pick up, my eyes will well up with tears, and the smile on my face will be so stupidly big, I’m sure anyone running by me thinks I’m some sort of creep.
With 75 days left until Chicago, I’ve hit this point where it feels ominously close but also so distant in the future. 75 days feels like not enough time to train but also, 11 weeks sounds so far out that I get scared of what could happen in that large amount of time. For now I’m taking one day at a time, eating healthy, drinking fluids, putting in the work, cross training, stretching, remembering that ultimate goal of crossing the finish line with pride knowing that I gave everything I have to the process, regardless of the time on the clock. I’m always proud of myself as long as I know that I gave all of myself to the race.
Anyways, Tony seemed to enjoy listening to my mental process and how excited I am for our vacation to Chicago. I’m hoping this cold goes away quickly because I have 3 workouts on my training plan that need to get accomplished this week. Tonight though, I’ll take the rest as my hard work. and with that, I’ll sign off. Remember to always dream big, envision yourself accomplishing your goals, and give it everything you fucking have. Nothing left on the table means there are no regrets left either.