There is a literal component to my title, but it also reflects how much running I am doing to prepare for the Marathon. In fact, considering how much I have hated running up until 2 years ago, when I realized how quick and easy it is to get ready to run, my mileage is getting pretty impressive.
There have been set backs. I started to develop a Bermuda Triangle of pain--right foot, left knee and right hip which sent me to get an abbreviated consult with a physical trainer who gave me some exercises to help me with it. While I was trying to run the plan for the experienced runners, for which I qualified because I have run a 10K, I started experiencing exhaustion that left once I humbled myself and moved to the running plan for inexperienced runners. It also reduced the amount pain in my foot/hip/knee. I have have yet to run any of my long distance without having to walk part of the distance.
The last long run involved long stretches of uphill and equal amounts of downhill. The uphill portions were so hard and I ran the first set way too fast for my legs because they gave out on me at mile 10 when I was supposed to run 17 miles. I cut it short and walked 14 miles. At the beginning, however, one runner gave me some great advice as I was struggling: "Don't focus on the uphill portions, focus on how it will feel going downhill." And isn't that what the Bible tells us to do?
"Fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame..." (Hebrews 12:2)
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light, momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison..." (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
And so, I have taken joy in considering every run a learning experience, not a failure to meet goal X. For instance, I have learned never listen to a comedy-based podcast while trying to run--you can't run and laugh simultaneously. When your body is telling to to make a potty stop, walk until you can reach a potty because you cannot run and "hold it." Plan your route on long runs to include potty stops because you WILL hear the call of the potty at some point. Carry money with you to buy something from the gas station/coffee shop/grocery store when you use their facilities to thank them. Or just leave them some extra money. Don't eat Gu on an empty stomach, thinking that it will give you energy for the run because all of that sugar will give you the runs. My personal preference for pre-run food is a banana and half a cliff bar if I am running a long distance. I save the other half for when I am done. Marzipan is a great running food--much better than Gu because it has sugar and a bit of protein and melts in your mouth without the need to chew it and tastes SO much better. Walking is okay because it allows you to exercise different muscles. Running with people is better than running alone. Polar heart beat monitors cause really bad welts on my chest. Chafing can happen in the bosom area (sorry for the TMI). Anytime you run father than you ever have run, even if it is not the distance you should run is a successful run.
I have learned that I can do more than I think I can do, that running without music is a great time to experience God and running can be a wonderful date with your husband, especially when he is as encouraging and supportive as my husband. He slowed down and stayed with me during the St. Paul Turkey Trot even when I was having a bad attitude because it was SO incredibly cold. So many of the runners I have met through the East Valley Runners club have been uplifting during the run and helped me become mentally stronger as I persevere during the long distances. In fact, we came up with a motivational song:
"Hit the road (name). I know you can run some more, some more, some more, some more. Hit the road (name). I know you can run some more. Yes we can!" (to the tune of "Hit the Road, Jack).
I will end with a new song by Jonathon Thulin that has been playing in my head. I love the imagery in this song, which is matched by his song "Dead Come to Life"