Just over two weeks ago I set a goal for my birthday - I wanted to run 14 miles. It would be the farthest I have ever run. It didn't feel like too much of a stretch. I try to maintain mileage so that I am always in "half-marathon shape", maybe not the best or fastest half, but to be able to knock out 13.1 miles. I woke up ready to face my birthday goal but quickly realized my body had a different idea. No need to go into details but I'll just say, I am still learning the fine line between the right amount of magnesium and too much magnesium. Soon enough though I was out running my preplanned route, observing the parks with restrooms. I felt good and strong and everything cooperated. I ran up and over the St Johns Bridge and it was a spectacular view. I was feeling glorious! Then just after mile 11 an old leg pain reminded me of its presence. I stretched, walked, and continued in a hobble/run/walk/hobble/run/walk pattern for another two miles. At 13 miles I called it - I had to keep my eye on the prize and this wasn't the run I wanted for myself. I was disappointed and discouraged. When I woke the next morning it struck me, every time my pain flared up I was wearing the same shoes. Genius! Problem solved with new shoes, minus the unnecessary-wrong fitting insoles. I was hopeful.
My redemption run was planned for yesterday. I hydrated, ate well and looked ahead with anticipation. I had new shoes, had been rolling and stretching and by damn, I was going to run 14 miles.
A few miles in I was hot, tired and grumpy. I couldn't shake my bad attitude. I'd had several nights of very poor, restless sleep and my body was paying the price. But I kept going, reminding myself that I can't always have perfect conditions. Some times I just have to push through. About 7 miles in I stopped to admire the blooming peonies, hydrangeas and beautiful landscaping of a house on a quiet street. I had a good talking to with myself and said from that mile on I was going to be grateful, no more whining, I was going to choose joy. Shortly thereafter I noticed a man, who looked a little down on his luck, sitting in the shade on the grass along the sidewalk. As I ran past I smiled and said good morning. He threw a pile of leaves and flowers at me and grumbled something. While I didn't appreciate his gesture, I couldn't help but laugh, because that kind of summed up how I had been feeling.
Then soon, my leg pain started to gently nudge at me and this time I saved myself the hobble/run/walk action and just stopped. Took a deep breath, and stopped at 12 miles. I walked home sweaty, worn out and frustrated.
As I walked I was reminded of one of the statements from my team Every Mother Counts page- running equals distance and for many women around the world distance is the greatest barrier to getting the proper care they need.
My body is currently not letting me go the distance my mind and spirit want it to. But I will get there. How fortunate am I that it is a choice for me? I am choosing to run, I don't have to run. I am choosing to go 26.2 miles while for many women, that is their only option. My pity party stopped and I suddenly felt honored and grateful for this opportunity - to run for these mothers so they don't have to.
I am training for my first marathon, and really, the first race I have trained for in a long time. I have to take the lows with the highs and be smart. Mostly though I need to keep choosing joy, and hope and gratitude; through the aches and pains and throwing of flowers.