The week, in running:
Tuesday: 4 miles, easy (+stroller)
Wednesday: 4.06 miles, (tempo)
Friday: 6 miles, easy
Sunday: 8 miles + Run for Riley 5K (+stroller)
◊ ◊ ◊I was navigating the quiet road where the large, nearly mansion-size houses sit stoicly back from the traffic. The leaves - orange, red and yellow - were glowing in the morning sun. The air was thick and humid for October but a welcome change from the chilly temps we have had.
I crushed the leaves underneath my feet as I ran that quiet road, trying not to feel my legs ache or cause my breathing to lumber. My focus was the goal of the run: to enjoy this last time before the madness of the coming race. Instead of creating a space for myself, all I could think was, "I will be running a marathon next week. My body will carry me 26.2 miles."
I will be running a marathon next week. My body will carry me 26.2 miles.
My mind hung on my word choices. I and my. While I will most certainly be moving my body next weekend, I'm not the only one running a marathon next week.
I sometimes feel like I talk and think about this event as if I'm the only one who has ever tackled the 26.2-mile event, and we all know that is not true. Millions and millions have done so before, and I'm sure a few (or so bajillion) will do so after me. And nor is Columbus holding a special parade for my marathon debut, going to great expense just so one person can prove she is back after baby and stronger than ever. Eleven thousand people will fill the streets that morning, ready to take on 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles or whatever God gives them that day.
There will be people in that field, though, who aren't registered. They will not be crossing the finish line. But, oh, they will most certainly be running my marathon next week.
Mark. I might nag him for putting wet towels in the laundry and tease him for eating frozen meals but I certainly have one of the best husbands in the world. He has unconditionally supported my training, wrangling Miles for hours on end as I ran 20 miles, making breakfast for two on mornings I left at 5 a.m. to tackle 8 miles before work and only flinching a wee bit when I told him that I needed yet another pair of shoes. He encouraged me when I wanted to quit and always found the best words he could to keep me going in the middle of a tough run. He pushed the pace when I needed it and didn't snark when I politely asked him to slow down. On Sunday, he will be on the sidelines for however long it takes me, navigating the streets of Columbus to root me on from several places and there at the finish with a hug and a Diet Coke. To say I couldn't have done this without him would be the understatement of the century.
Miles. There are so many things that I want to teach Miles - how to poop in the potty, how to get his nose wiped without screaming and to never give up on things. There were so many times I wanted to quit training and, yet, somehow I've made it through 19 weeks and am set to toe the line in Columbus. He might not understand it now - or ever - but it's important to prove something to your worst enemy - yourself. And, as we fought tantrum after tantrum last week, I made a mental note to remember when the going gets tough on Sunday, that 26.2 miles isn't really that bad after you've cluster fed a pseudo colicky baby every half hour for three weeks.
The children. The Columbus Marathon is partnered with Nationwide Children's Hospital. As part of that relationship, each mile will be dedicated a child who has fought harder and longer than any marathon runner will on that day. Those children will be out on the course, cheering on the runners and reminding us that perseverance brings amazing things.
You. Each and every one of you. It sounds uber lame, and I even feel a bit lame typing it. However, many of you have shown incredible support and given much needed encouragement throughout this training cycle. Your words of advice and knowledge have been not only helpful but inspiring. I have seen you guys complete marathons through your words and knowing how you fought will only help me to push through.
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Don't forget to enter my giveaway for PB Crave. My ChocoChoco oatmeal this morning tells me you won't regret it!