“As an athlete, when you least expect it, you may find yourself standing on the threshold of an accomplishment so monumental that it strikes fear into your soul. You must stand ready, at any moment, to face the unknown. You must be ready to walk boldly thru the wall of uncertainty.”
– John Bingham
It’s time to talk about running again.
So, as you may remember, I’m currently in the middle of training for my second half marathon on November 9. And, training with me, is my training partner from afar, Zoe in Australia. (Read that Cool Story here.) As a quick recap, Zoe and I met online through this very blog and have decided to train together for her first and my second half marathon. Mine is an “official” race (the Mayberry Half Marathon – a small race in Mount Airy, North Carolina), and she will be running on her own there in Australia.
Well, let’s do a quick update, shall we?
We are officially 17 days pre-race. Yikes. SEVENTEEN DAYS. That seems so soon….
I have spoken with the race director and he has pulled some strings and worked it out to get me a bib to send to Zoe so that she will have an official number to wear as she races (and she better wear it too – you hear that, woman??) 🙂 Here’s a picture of it before it is shipped off to Australia to its rightful owner:
Goodbye, little bib. Enjoy your journey halfway across the world.
Once I have completed my half marathon (which I will do – and hopefully with a time of less than 2:30), I will be awarded two medals. One for myself, and one for Zoe. I’ll ship her medal, together with her t-shirt, of course (hey, we all know we only do this junk for the t-shirts…) to her in Australia as well. Eeek! Sounds exciting, right?
Well, it is. But it’s also scary.
This little “project” of mine has put a lot of pressure on both of us to succeed. And let me tell you – this process has not been an easy one. She and I both have been through quite a bit getting to this point. At the beginning, we had our training plan all laid out…4 runs a week with gradual increases in pace and distance…we were ready to ROCK this thing. Stick to the plan…no variances. Go team!
Yeah, well. That hasn’t happened.
We’re both thirtysomething-year-old moms. While it’s easier on me having teenage children; her, not so much. She has small children that she has to arrange to have cared for so that she can squeeze in her training runs. And on top of all of that, she has battled the head cold from hell…TWICE. I, too, had said head cold once myself. (Hmmm…wonder if you can catch a head cold from 9,000+ miles away? Ahhhem…excuse me…15,000+ kilometers away. Google’s “miles to kilometers” function is my new best friend these days…) And, on top of that, I got an acting gig that I hadn’t been expecting to get during training (read that blog here if you missed it), which took a little chunk out of my training… Oh heck. I could list a million things here, but I’ll give it a rest. The point is this…
Life has happened.
It just has. And it’s always going to. There have been times that even if we were able to squeeze in our runs, we weren’t able to go as fast or as far as we had planned. Mental ability is just as important as physical ability…and some days it just hasn’t been there. For either of us.
But you know what? We’re still here.
We both still have our training plans in front of us every day. We both still check in with each other, and build each other up when we’re feeling down. We give gentle pushes when needed, and give the little e-hugs when a push just isn’t going to cut it. We have understood each other’s frustrations and virtually held each other’s hands, not only through the not-so-great runs, but also through the reasons that have accompanied the not-so-great runs. In other words, we have become friends.
And that’s pretty awesome.
So…seventeen days from now, I certainly hope to report back here and tell you that my friend and I have finished the Mayberry Half Marathon. Together. And, if the sickness prevails with Zoe and she’s not able to complete it on November 9 as planned, then I’ll come back here and tell you on November 10. Or November 11. Or however long it takes for it to happen. Because it will happen. (And I’ll be holding her medal and t-shirt hostage until it does! Yep. Holding the coveted T-SHIRT hostage. That’s runners’ blasphemy right there, but you do what you have to do…)
The point is this. She’ll be ready. Sometime in the near future, my friend Zoe will have completed her very first half marathon. And she won’t have a giant group of people to run with and to cheer her on. She’ll be doing it entirely on her own. Her own course, her own pace, her own journey. And that, blog-readers, is some serious bad-assery if I’ve ever seen it.
So, thus ends my “Cool Story” recap. Tune back in here in a few weeks for another update. And until then, whether you are a runner who is training for your next race distance goal, or just a human being training to get through whatever struggle you’re currently facing, remember these words:
Keep moving forward, friends. We’re all in this race together.
“It’s important to know that at the end of the day it’s not the medals you remember. What you remember is the process — what you learn about yourself by challenging yourself, the experiences you share with other people, the honesty the training demands — those are things nobody can take away from you whether you finish twelfth or you’re an Olympic Champion.”
-Silken Laumann, Canadian Olympian