When I trained for my first official race in 2009, I was intimidated by the distance. I didn’t care about time or pace, I just wanted to run the miles. I was timid. I was cautious. I had a lot of doubt. Because these feelings played a big role in my training, I guarded myself. I physically shortened my stride. I didn’t reach. I held my hips tight. I held myself close. Both my physical body and my emotional self were held in. It was easier to run further with the abbreviated stride. It felt safer. I tiptoed towards new distances, and I was happy with every success.
That first race taught me so much. I proved to myself that I was capable.
This summer I spent all my time learning how to run again. Distance doesn’t scare me anymore. I know I can cover the miles. My coach has guided me. We have lengthened my stride. I’m reaching again. The first time I did speed work with him on the trails, my heart filled with joy. I was running again. I felt the running legs that existed in my 16-year-old self that beat all the boys in the mile run during gym class. I felt alive.
In so many ways training for the Richmond marathon has been a fresh start.
In less than 48 hours, I will have crossed both the start and the finish line of my second marathon. I feel ready. I feel confident. I trust my training. The path to the start line has been unconventional. With the support of my coach, we have made it work. We’ve dealt with hip injuries and nagging foot pain, yet somehow it has worked. It wasn’t perfect, but neither is life.
Just like life, I’m also trying to figure out the balance of setting time goals and achievement goals. I do not, and will not, let the time on the race clock define my success on race day so you won’t find time predictors in this blog post. Just like my race goals for Crawlin Crab, it’s a feeling I’m chasing down.
- Run with a light heart
- Run with clear mind
- Run with the strength in my body
- Trust my reach
- Be Brave
- Be Strong
- Fight for the finish
- Run in the present
I’m drawing a heart on my hand on race day to remind me that this race is about running from my heart. It’s about lifting myself up during the hard miles. It’s about being my own cheerleader. It’s about running each mile. I won’t be chasing a pace on my garmin or on the finish line clock. I’m not even sure I want my pace showing on race day. I know what I’m capable of running when I allow my body to run. I know when I’m giving it everything I’ve got.
During this race, I have to trust my reach. I have to trust the openness in my hips. I have to know that I can stay in a stride that is open (and a little vulnerable). I will not run this race timid. I plan on running smart but aggressive. I will not second guess myself. I will run what my legs are offering me on race day.
My coach and I have had many of talks about what time I’m capable of running on race day. His predictions are a little scary to me. They feel like big goals I really need to reach for, but that is what this race is about. It’s about reaching with my legs and with my heart to get me to the finish line.
Open Heart. Open Stride. Reach with my heart. Reach with my legs.
That is my race day plan. That is what I’ll be repeating over and over again in the last 6.2 miles when my body wants to stop.
2 days and counting!!!!
If you want to follow along during the next two days, follow me on facebook or instagram (@Breathofsunshine). Tomorrow we head to Richmond. Saturday at 8am, I will be lined up in Corral 2 waiting to start.
Bib # 2359