As my running shoes sat collecting dust by the door (yes, cobwebs can grow in just one dramatic week) I scoured the internet, hungry for my next challenge. Something that I’ve found myself doing after every big accomplishment over the last 3 years, but there was always more to be had. Until now. With a Boston Marathon medal hanging on my wall every race I pulled up on the computer just seemed trivial. I was slightly worried that maybe I had reached my pinnacle; maybe I was done with this training business. I mean it has been one hell of a ride.
And just as I was thinking I would spend the summer kicking back on the couch I got this thought thrown at me: “I’ve always gone bigger, but have I ever tried to get better?” I knew the answer instantly. I’ve been chasing distance after distance, barely finishing one race before I’m training for the next. Running for me had become this challenge of how quickly I could climb to the top, how fast I could prove that I could cover these distances. But challenging myself to do them better? I’ll admit I don’t really know what that’s like. Most of my PR’s have been purely accidental.
Suddenly my answer became clearer. My challenge this summer is not to prove to the world how high I can climb, but to prove to myself that I can give it all I’ve got. I didn’t become the Half Ass Bad Ass because it’s a cute and catchy name – it happened because I far too often half ass myself through things. And I want to know what it’s like to push myself. To get comfortable being uncomfortable. To get better. To become faster. To feel stronger.
After a week off my feet I was finally given the go ahead to head out for a run. I was giddy with excitement as I slipped on my running shoes and turned on my Garmin for the first time since April 20th. With a gorgeous spring afternoon and legs that were well rested I imagined a perfect three miles. Instead my legs felt like they were made of brick, I couldn’t catch my breath. It may in fact have been the shittiest three miles I have ever run. But it was a start. Again. I realized that my journey with running runs parallel to my journey with weight loss: it never ends, it just changes direction. Completing a marathon doesn’t mean I’m done – it means I’m just beginning.
Everyone told me to ride that marathon high and I certainly did. I scooted backwards down the stairs with pride, I didn’t take my jacket off for 7 days straight (Don’t worry on the 7th day I washed it -and then immediately put it back on), beaming every time someone asked me if I had run. I loved that the employee at Ben and Jerry’s gave me half off my order after seeing the medal around my neck. “So this is what finishing the Boston Marathon is like” I thought as I sipped my milkshake.
And then my beautiful bouquets of flowers started to wilt. The temporary “Boston” tattoo on my arm began to wash off. I could walk down the stairs normally. And I was left with this incredible feeling of “What do I do now?”.
I knew that coming down from the Boston Marathon high was going to be hard. I had spent the last 6 months consumed with training for it. Imagining crossing that finish line every single day. My poor friends and family (and whoever is reading this) were breathing a sign of relief that it was finally over. But all I wanted was to go back in time and start again.
It’s funny how the things we dread the most end up being the ones we appreciate in the end, right? Every Saturday night I had this put in my stomach about the next mornings long run and yet all I wanted to do was pack up my bag and leave it by the front door. I longed for jelly beans, the ache after a long run, the excitement of a goal ahead. There should really be a pop-up on road race websites that says “please enter the date of your last race” (kind of like how you have to put in your birthdate to enter a website about alcohol?) because I was tempted to sign up for anything and everything I could get my hands on. Luckily before I could make any rash decisions I just shut my laptop and headed to the pool.
I kept getting the question “Do you think you’ll ever run another marathon?” and I didn’t even have to think for a second about the answer. I don’t want to be a “one and done”. And I definitely feel like I deserve another shot at Boston when it isn’t a freezing cold driving rain. Just not right now. I think my husband would divorce me. 😉
So what do I do now? I’m still not sure. I mean- where DO you go after Boston?! A part of me regrets climbing the race ladder too quickly. I wonder if I should have stuck to 5Ks and 10Ks longer, if I should have done a couple more half marathons before I decided to move onto 26.2. It’s a little disappointing to know there’s no more big distances to climb (Because don’t worry – I have NO drive to ever do anything higher than 26.2. That’s just sick).
One thing I do know is that as exhausting as it was, finishing Boston didn’t leave me hating running. In fact I think it only made me love it more. This week of rest has been pure agony for me because all I wanted was to get back out there. I’ve just got to figure out what I’m heading out there to do.
Three more runs.
I’ve only got three more runs.
A grand total of seven miles.
I only have five days and seven miles until I run 26.2.
This just doesn’t seem real.
Seven more miles feels like nothing compared to what I’ve been doing. My legs are quieter with less miles to run but the thoughts in my brain are so much louder. Questioning everything, going over my training, worrying about aches and pains. All I have left to do is run 7 more miles, pick up my bib and the usual pre-race rituals: a trip to the nail salon, a vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, have my hair french braided. And then it’s go time. One of my favorite tidbits of advice I’ve received (and one that is the most comforting) is that Marathon Monday is just a big celebration – all the hard work was done during the last four cold, snowy months. I keep trying to remind myself that.
I’ve said it several times before, but it takes a village to raise a marathoner – and I could not have made it to these last 5 days without it. But my village is actually more of a bustling metropolis so feel free to grab a fresh cup of coffee and sit back because this might take a while. And there’s a good chance your name is probably somewhere in this blog post.
First of all, I have to thank the countless friends, family, and complete strangers who have helped me raise over $5,000 for Back on My Feet Boston. You ate pizza, you purchased new running shoes and sports bras, you bought raffle tickets from an adorable 7 year old practicing his math skills. Every email that notified me of a new donation came with a message “We believe in you. You’ve got this. I’m so proud of you”. They reminded me that you trust that I can do this, you believe in me. And that means the world to me. (PS it’s not too late to help! To make a donation click here.)
The coolest Chiropractor around, Dr. B. His first words to me during my consultation were “So Beantown’s the goal huh? Let’s make that happen.” and he made it happen. From waiting to close the office during a snowstorm to fit me in, to fist pumping me after every new distance ran, he has been one of my biggest cheerleaders (Even if he does it with his weapon of choice in the other hand).
My other set of parents, “my Goldens” – who are as proud of me as if I were one of theirs, who were waiting anxiously for the text that I finished my first 20 miler, who have been cheering in my corner since the very beginning of my journey. As much as I have loved being the ultimate spectators with you – you have no idea how excited I am to be on the other side of Mr. Smiley Face Balloon guy.
My friends and family who ask how my training is going (even though they could probably care less), who understood why I vanished the entire winter, and who are just so excited to cheer me on on the road from Hopkinton to Boylston – thank you for supporting me through this crazy process.
My crazy co-workers – because if you are going to train for a marathon, this is the place to work while doing it. From understanding why I was overwhelmed by 8 feet of snow, to building me the most beautiful neon countdown paper chain, to keeping me “grounded” – you get it.
My cousin Julie, who right now is doing something even MORE amazing by growing a human life inside of her, and yet still thinks to ask how my long runs go, to cheer me on, to tell me I can do it. Before the Marathon jackets even had time to cool she (and her mother-in-law) had one delivered to my office to make sure that I “looked the part”.
The L Street Running Club – who I could not have made it through all those miserable winter long runs without. From the speedsters who high fived me on their way back, to the incredible water stop volunteers who were always so kind and enthusiastic – your “no pace too slow” motto has made a difference in this slow poke first timer’s life. And especially my “running big brother” whose words of wisdom always come at just the right time.
My mom and dad- I’m pretty sure I saw their jaws hit the floor when I first mentioned that I wanted to run the Boston Marathon. And once they picked them back up, man they are the greatest cheer squad ever. I mean, whose mother orders 2 giant balloons online… just in case one blows away on race day? And whose dad cuts marathon articles out of the paper and mails them to you? As my training runs increased my iPod playlist got longer as well, and I threw on a lot of old songs that remind me of my parents- dancing around the kitchen or singing in the car. When the miles got tough those songs would magically pop on, and I felt their presence with me. For as anyone who was a guest at our wedding can attest, there’s nothing like a little “You Can Call Me Al” to get you moving. 🙂
My incredible husband – who has always been my rock and has proved to be nothing less than amazing during all of this. They say it’s a family commitment when someone decides to train for a marathon and I see why now. He has patiently spent Saturday nights on the couch and Sunday mornings alone waiting for me to come hobbling in the house. He has made sure that my Lush bath bomb stock never dwindles and baked me a cake to celebrate my last 20 miler. He comforts me when runs are tough and every night before we go to bed he tells me how proud he is of me. He is my everything.
And finally Alicia, because when my rockstar husband doesn’t know what to do with me anymore he passes me off to her – and somehow she can fix it. If anyone deserves an extra medal it’s her for all the tears, whining, complaining and second guessing that she has put up with – and is still right by my side. You have taught me that Boston is the epitome of races, and you are the epitome of Boston to me. Never in my life did I dream that I, the chubby rollerblader, would be running the Boston Marathon, but you were the person who saw something inside of me. Although this will technically be our third reunion “on” Boylston Street… something tells me I will never, ever, forget this one.
I just can’t even begin to believe that marathon training is officially coming to an end. I’ve got one more “long” run (not that 10 miles even feels long anymore) and then THAT’S IT. 12 more days. It’s go time. It’s unreal.
So while I sit here obsessively stalking the weather (it’s already changed drastically 3 times in the last 24 hours) and wondering if every cramp in my little toe is a real pain, I decided to come up with a list of things I’ve learned during this process. Advice to those pondering the idea of training for 26.2. Some of it I never saw coming, some of it I heard over and over again, but sometimes you just have to see it for yourself before something clicks.
It’s time consuming. I assumed that marathon training would be just like when I trained for my first triathlon, or a half marathon. I know now that it is so much more. My weekends have consisted of lots of water, single digit Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoons spent recovering on the couch. Pretty wild right? (Shout out to my buddies who have been so patient with me these last few months, I’ll be back soon!)
Find your village. With that being said, you can’t make it through this process alone. Find your support crew, the people who understand why you don’t want to go out at 9pm on a Saturday night or who will sit and listen to the play-by-play of your 20 miler (even if they just smile and nod their way through your babbling).
Fuel is everything. I used to be pretty stubborn about fueling. In my mind holding out until the last possible minute made me tougher, but I would just crash. HARD. It took training for a marathon for me to figure out exactly when I need a boost, and to stay on top of it. Who knew you could actually feel GOOD running 10+ miles?
There is no worse feeling than a hill with no end in sight, and lungs that can’t catch an ounce of air. But you have to remember that there is also no better feeling than the downhill that follows, and catching your breath again. THE. BEST.
Your race, your pace. This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn, and one that I still struggle with every now and then. But, it’s been an incredibly helpful mantra to keep in the back of my head. I, like many other runners, have the tendency to compare myself to everyone around me. But at end of the day it’s my marathon and all that matters is how I get across the finish line.
What you do AFTER you run is just as important. The days I don’t stretch, foam roll, ice are the nights I usually hurt the most. It’s time consuming and not as tempting as immediately curling up on the couch, but my body thanks me later.
Ice baths suck. Nothing else needs to be said here.
You cannot eat everything in sight. I understand now why marathoners tend to gain weight- It’s easy to justify shoveling anything and everything into your mouth because you just ran 15 miles. I’m proud of the fact that I actually lost a few of the pounds I had re-gained earlier in the fall because I’ve been pretty consistent about tracking my food and sticking to what I know works for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t treat myself (Hi I’ll take an order of pancakes AND french fries please!) – but I always get back to business with the next meal. I know that in these last few weeks my weight will probably go up a bit, but I’ve accepted it because I know that I’m preparing my body to do this incredible thing.
You will love your body. I think this is the most important lesson I’ve learned. Despite all of the weight I’ve lost in the last few years it’s still instinct to nit pick and nag myself in the mirror. Until now. There’s something about putting your legs through almost 4 hours of running that makes you see them in a whole new light. Suddenly those thighs aren’t thick, they’re strong. Those calves aren’t bulky, they’re powerful. I’m proud of this body.
Dear Half Ass,
The last of the gray snow piles are melting. The days are getting longer, the birds are once again becoming a familiar background noise. Around you everyone’s minds are turning to baseball season, flip flop weather, garden planning. And while these things are on your mind too there’s something else that these chilly spring evenings remind you of. Something even better.
It’s now been three years. Three years since that night you sucked in your breath (and your gut), wiped your sweaty palms, and walked through that door. Three years since you finally admitted that you wanted help, to change, a different lifestyle. In some way the memories of those days seem blurry- it’s hard to imagine life without sweat, burpees, long runs and sore muscles. But sometimes you remember every single detail of how truly hard those days were.
It’s been an incredible journey to watch – highs and lows, weight losses and gains. Training cycles, My Fitness Pal, bedtime stories, egg muffins. I sat back and winced as you struggled through your first mile, watched your face beam as you ran a 5K without stopping, saw you cross the finish line of your first half marathon. I saw you learn how to swim, become a triathlete. Watched your strength and confidence change as your body did. I saw the satisfaction in your face when your jeans slid down your waist, caught you discovering muscles in places you never knew existed. I cheered at the finish line as you cruised into PRs, and comforted you as you learned that not every race goes as planned. I watched you form the most incredible bonds with people you never expected to have anything in common with. At first you were nervous to trust them but you quickly learned how much they cared about you, how much they just want to see you succeed.
It’s hard to believe that three years ago you stood in Kenmore Square, in your tight fitting size 14 shorts, wondering why anyone in their right mind would ever run 26.2 miles … FOR FUN. It’s even harder to believe that in just 16 days you will join thousands of other athletes (which by the way, you are now too!) at the start line in Hopkinton. You will stand there knowing that you have trained just as long and just as hard as everyone else to run the greatest race in the world. You have changed your body, your lifestyle, your mind, all for this. You will make that epic trek from Hopkinton to Boylston Street. And when you cross that finish line you will have proved that you truly can do anything if you set your mind to it.
People like to joke about how you continue to celebrate this day, but you and I both know how important it is to you. Important that you celebrate, that you remember the journey it took to get to this place, and that it doesn’t stop here. I know I’m quick to judge you – to nag you that you run too slow or that your thighs are too big – but the truth is that I couldn’t be more proud of you. I don’t tell you that nearly enough.
The sky is the limit girlfriend. Happy Anniversary.
“Are you ready?” That’s the question I’ve been getting more and more frequently as the days tick down. I stare back with a somewhat blank look on my face, because I don’t really know how to answer that. Ready for what? Ready for a nap? Absolutely. A snack? Always!
Ready to run a marathon? I’m not so sure about that. Does anyone ever feel ready? Supposedly scientifically speaking my legs and my lungs are – but the rest of me?
There’s a few things I’m ready for. I’m ready for this to be over because to be honest, I’m exhausted. I’m ready to not go to bed Saturday night fearing my long run the next morning. Ready to not wake up with random aches and pains. Ready to look down at my feet crossing that finish line. Ready to feel the weight of that medal around my neck. Ready to prove that I can do this.
But I’m also ready to go back to the beginning and start all over again- because you only get to experience your first marathon once. I’m ready for more time, more long runs, more practice fueling. Ready for more tips, more advice, more time to get this right. Ready for the countdown to stop moving so damn fast suddenly.
I’m ready for my last 20 miler out on the course this weekend because it means I get one more chance to practice. But I’m also scared shitless because I know this is it – I don’t get another chance to get it down. The next time I’m out there it will be the real deal. I’ll be alone. And I will have 6.2 more miles further to go until my feet cross that finish line. Until that medal hangs around my neck. I’m not ready for that yet.
The high from my 20 miler spilled over into the next day or so. I wore the sore hamstrings like a badge of honor. That is until I realized it was time to run again. And then the cloud I was floating in quickly dissolved. “No thanks, I’m not ready”.
My legs still hurt, my mind was still tired and the LAST thing I wanted to do was put on my shoes. And unfortunately, that feeling stuck the rest of the week. Before every single run I found myself whining and literally having to push myself out the door. What the hell? Is this normal? What happened to that bad ass girl from Sunday?
Our long run fell on a Saturday this week meaning I had one less day to pull myself together than normal, which couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time. Add that to a cold, rainy morning and I was one miserable human being. Fifteen miles should have felt like a breeze compared to the week before but like every other run that week I moaned, groaned, and dragged my feet. I was mad at everything: that it was raining, cold, that I was slower than the rest of the group, that I had forgotten to shake the rock out of my shoe from the week before. Mad that the nagging pain I had been feeling in my ankle lately was still there. Mad that I had forgotten my lip balm.
Eventually all I could focus on was the pain in my ankle, and then an all too familiar ache in my hip – just before I hit Mile 12 I decided to call it quits and get a ride back at the last water stop. Clicking “save” on my Garmin made my decision official, but it sure didn’t make me feel any better about it.
Once I dragged my sorry ass home I climbed in the hot shower, and of course regretted my decision. 5 weeks to go and I’m cutting runs short? Not okay!
I’ve spent the last three months training for the marathon. I’ve been preparing my body for it since early fall. And I’ve been talking about it (at least with my coach) since the middle of the summer. When I wake up I immediately cross off another day and my last thoughts before I fall asleep are usually about crossing the finish line. If you are a friend, family member, or co-worker this is all you hear about – all day long (I’m sorry, I really am!). Right now I live and breathe the Boston Marathon. I can’t help it. Aside from getting married and eventually having children, this is one of the biggest things I’ll ever do in my life. I can’t help but try to absorb every second of it- to the point where I’m getting absorbed by it.
So I’m trying to take a step back. Take a deep breath. Take care of my aches and pains so I can get to Hopkinton healthy. Find things to do to take my mind off of it. Stop stressing myself out over every little step. It just not so easy to do with just over a month to go. Deep breaths.
It seemed years away when I first got my training schedule. “Plenty of time before I even have to think about that” I told myself. Then again I was pretty preoccupied with worrying about all of those numbers in the middle-, 12, 14, 16, 18. But as we all know- the more you try to push something to the back of your mind the faster it seems to comes up. So before I knew it it was March, and suddenly I found myself watching the hours close in on my first 20 miler.
For some reason 20 miles just sounded like this absurd number to me. I mean to a normal person it IS absurd, right?! TWENTY MILES. That’s freaking far. Almost mythical. But if you’re training for a marathon, it’s what you do.
After a fitful night of sleep my alarm finally went off at the crack of dawn- quite literally since as luck would have it it was also Daylight Savings. “OH SHIT” was the first thought that popped into my head. I arrived at B.C. just as the sun was coming up. As I stood in the group waiting for the bus I hoped that people would just assume I was shivering from the cold, not from fear.
As soon as the bus door shut and we began to roll out of campus I felt my stomach drop. All I could do was stare out the window and force myself to take deep breaths. With every intersection that we drove through it wasn’t an “Are we there yet?” but a “WE’RE SERIOUSLY STILL NOT THERE YET?!” Twenty miles felt far even DRIVING (Which reminds me- someone slip me a sedative before the bus ride on April 20th?)
Somewhere between wanting the agony of the ride to end and wanting to stall for more time the bus pulled over to the side of the road. It reminded me of a scene in one of those movies where suddenly you see the main character emerging from a cloud of exhaust next to a corn field as a bus pulls away. Except that we were in Ashland Massachusetts, and the only way to get home was to run there.
Despite the fact that I was an absolute shit show of nerves somehow my feet still knew what to do. And I noticed that with the more steps I took the more my breathing fell into a pattern, my hands got less clammy, my nervous chatter slowed down to my every day babble. The more the miles passed the more my nerves disappeared. My confidence grew.
And then this magical thing happened- Mile 10 hit (the halfway point) and I barely felt it. 10 miles is far too often my crashing point but for once, I felt strong. I started to get giddy. “Holy shit, I’m ACTUALLY doing this!”
Naturally as the miles increased I became more tired, but I also kept getting more and more excited. Every mile down was another mile closer to this mythical number, this unreal goal. At 17 I squealed in delight that there was “Only a 5K left!” and when I heard Mile 19 chime on my Garmin, goosebumps flushed over my body. Good lord I’ve never been so exhausted, elated, and in shock in the very same moment. As I rounded the last few corners back to the gym it might have been my delusional state, but every person stopped and smiled at me as if they knew, they knew I was about to finish this incredible thing. Once I made it back inside I collapsed in a stiff, sweaty pile of happy tears. I just couldn’t believe I had done it.
I know there’s a lot of technical details behind the concept of a long run. But more important than the time on my feet or fueling properly that day, somewhere in those twenty miles I learned how to push myself a little further. I learned how to be a little stronger, how to believe in myself a little more. I took that big scary goal and I did it. Less than a month and a half till Marathon Day and while I’m still scared shitless, there’s just a little more pep in my step (errr waddle, I’m still feeling those 20 miles).
It takes only a second after my alarm goes off for my brain to register what day it is. Sunday, long run day. Lying in bed I quickly calculate how many miles I have to run, a job which feels absolutely impossible when you’re still under the protection of warm covers. Before my brain goes to a bad place I’m up, changing into the clothes I laid out the night before. I usually panic that I’m going to be too cold or too warm and make a last minute change in wardrobe.You think by now I’d learn to stop second guessing my wardrobe decisions.
Downstairs I shove half an English Muffin in my mouth, the nerves in my stomach making it hard to swallow. I’m tempted to throw the second half out but then I remember what it’s like to be starving mid run. I compulsively check my bag, because God forbid I only have one pair of running gloves to choose from 5 minutes before we head out.
Once inside the Rec Center people are chatty as they adjust their laces and turn on their watches. I’m usually pretty quiet, thinking about what the next few hours will be like, praying to the running gods that I don’t %&$! this one up. This morning is gray and cold (colder than it was supposed to be, which of course makes me worry that I didn’t dress appropriately). Despite the typical winter air – something feels different today.
We pour into the street and in a flash, everyone passes me. I turn my head around to realize I’ve quickly become the last runner. Before I can throw myself into a fit and ruin the morning I push my earbuds in. “My race, my pace” I remind myself.
I run through streets that are still relatively quiet. Past the spots where our teams meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. I’m reminded of who I’m running for. After a while I find a rhythm. I make a pact with myself that I won’t think about how much further I have to run until I reach the halfway point. And for once, it actually works.
I make my way down the Cambridge side of the Charles River, then back up on the Boston side, the white tundra keeping my mind off the miles. I pass other runners and we give each other a friendly smile. I wonder if they’re training for Boston too. I wonder if they know I am.
I hit mile 10 and smile, remembering how once double digits were so daunting. Now I barely blink. Just past my 10 mile mark I reach a water stop and see the familiar faces I’ve been waiting for. They put a little energy back in my step. In my happiness I miss a turn and somewhere around 11.5 realize I’m off course. My instinct is of course to panic but I spot a State Police sign, and a friendly officer puts me back on track. A situation that normally would bring me to tears didn’t even phase me. I’m on a mission.
My watch beeps at mile 13 and I laugh manically. Half marathons are old news now too. My legs are heavy. I’m cold and tired, but I am so determined. 14, 15, 16.. bring it.
Eventually the Rec Center comes into my line of vision, and I feel the sting of tears, from the cold wind and from pride. I tell myself I’ll be done before this song (which I’ve now heard 3 times) is over. I can’t believe I made it.
I hobble inside to find a janitor waiting to close up the room. My duffle bag now sits alone on a table next to a bunch of bananas, my consolation prize. One would think my face would be red with embarrassment that I am the last person back but in fact I’m beaming.
There have been a lot of tough runs, days where I’ve thought “Why am I doing this?” and “What if I can’t?” But as I make the long trek back to my car carrying my bunch of bananas a little voice inside of me says“What if I can?”
Anyone who’s run a marathon, or who maybe hasn’t run a mile in their life, has given me their advice, wisdom, and two-cents since I announced that I was going to be training for Boston. Some of it has stuck. Some of it hasn’t. But there’s one nugget of wisdom in particular that has been keeping me (somewhat) sane during these last few weeks: “Life is like marathon training, it rarely goes according to plan”.
I like planning. I like for things to go according to said plan. I absolutely hate when things are out of my control. I’m only human.
Most of us start things with the best of intentions. At the beginning of a new semester we declare that we will do every reading assignment. At the start of a new relationship we tell ourselves that we’ll never nag our significant other. On New Years Day we make a vow to go to the gym 5 days a week, to eat more veggies and drink more water. A few days or weeks in, and those plans have shifted. We get sick. We get busy. We fall behind. Life happens.
When I copied that first week into my training log I envisioned every week looking as neat as my handwriting on the page. And then injury happened. Deep freezes and nearly 8 feet of snow. Long runs cancelled. Swims instead of runs. Routes changed. Treadmill miles. There’s been a lot more crossing out in my training log than I anticipated. And that’s the stuff that tends to throw me into panic mode. There have been quite a few times where I’ve thrown my hands up and cried “This isn’t what I signed up for! This isn’t how I expected it to go.”
And then I realize what a princess I sound like, and I try to bring it back to reality. Life doesn’t always go according to Plan A or B. Sometimes it’s not until Plan G rolls around that things work out. All you can really do is hope for the best, work with what you’ve got, and appreciate the little things. A room of friends, family, and even strangers who are gathered simply to support you. Running buddies who will delay their pancake eating just to wait for you to finish your slowpoke miles. The way a hot shower and pjs feel after a run when its -2 degrees. The feeling of pushing yourself that last half mile when all you wanted to do was quit. Having someone in your life who will stay up way past their bedtime just to calm your doubts and fears. Random conversations that say “Hey, I believe in you. You can really do this”. These are the little things, the things I need to remember when training gets tough.
Life is messy. Life is complicated. Life is challenging, beautiful, and tear inducing for all of those reasons.
So is marathon training.
And that’s what makes it all worth it.