With the marathon only days away I feel excited, nervous, grateful and did I mention nervous.
When I set out to training for this marathon I knew I would have to train differently. I knew that my body would not respond the same way to marathon training the way that most peoples do. When I started I seemed to forget this and pushed myself to injury. See my blog post on failure for more on that. I had to start from the beginning. I ran for only one minute and walked for one minute for a total of thirty minutes slowly building myself back up and allowing myself to heal.
As I have carefully followed my training program, doing my best to listen to my body changing things as needed, I have made progress I did not think was possible. My total weekly milage have been between 45 and 50 miles a week. I have been able to run 5 to 6 miles as a recovery run. Most importantly I have been able to stick to running two long runs each week that lasted for two hours or more. This last piece is not something I thought my body could do with the amount of recovery required after each run. I am excited to say that with careful planning, consistency and learning new ways to recovery, my body has been able to handle these runs.
To handle these long runs I have adaptive by dedicating more time to recovery. After a two hour plus run I spend much of my day recovering with many painful rollouts, prolonged stretching routines and a yoga practice to prepare for the next run. The recovery itself is sometimes more challenging than the actual run. For example, to prepare for my longest run a three hour run I first spent 45 minutes the night before going through a hip mobilization routine. Then, I spent 30 minutes the morning stretching (not including my warm up) and another 60 minutes after my run with my recovery routine. The last thing I wanted to do after running for three hours was to spend another hour trying to move my tight and fatigued body but with my goals in mind I was able to make it happen. Thinking of my next run and how much better I can do if I can only focus on the moment motivates me forward. My consistency motivates me forward. The goal of crossing the finish line motivates me forward. Now I know this sounds like a lot, and honestly it is. When I tell my family and friends all I do is get reading for my next run, run, and then recover from my run I am not exaggerating. As the race day has approached it has been easier and even enjoyable to focus most of my energy on this event.
I am nervous about finishing this race well and if I’m honest and I am nervous about finishing period. Running a marathon is on the edge of what my body can do and I genuinely do not know if I can finish. That is the point though. One of the reasons I have been training for this marathon is to see where my boundaries are and hopefully push them a little further out. This is one of things I am excited about is to see just how far I can go, to see just how hard I can push myself, to reach the point of complete exhaustion and then keep going. I have looked forward to meeting myself on each of my long runs and come race day I look forward to finding a part of myself along the way to the finish line.
I am grateful for all the people I have connected with, who have supported me, and have run along side me while training. Having the opportunity to raise awareness for people with disabilities, to support a fantastic foundation like Achilles international, and hearing the stories of mobility from countless individuals has been the best part of this entire process. I could not have imagined the community I now find myself in since starting this journey, but I am so grateful for it. So, to those who have read and shared my blog, to those who have supported me with your words of encouragement and contributing to the fundraising campaign, to those who have run along side me, and to those who have been kind enough to share your story with me, thank you! Thank you for being apart of this journey, I appreciate each of you more than you know.