I awoke to heavy rain hitting our bedroom window. I pealed myself out of bed at 6am and headed into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. I peaked out the window to find gusty winds and a monsoon, this is not idea conditions for an 18 mile run. As the coffee started to brew I checked weather.com which confirmed 100% rain for the next several hours. I text the girls I pace every Wedensday night and Saturday morning to see if they were going to show up. I thought I would receive replies such as, “No, the weather’s too bad.” Instead they were excited to run in the rain and couldn’t wait. These first time marathon girls were hard core and truly determined. It brought a smile to my heart, I was a part of an impressive group.
A few moments later I was enjoying breakfast and play time with my daughter before I headed out. When she looks at me and smiles I am filled with an abundant amount of energy. When I am feeling down during a run I imagine her little face and some how for a few moments I am content. She is full of personality and is very strong for how young she is. I have never seen a toddler know exactly what they want and have the capability to get it independently. We shared a few kisses and giggles before I left to meet my group.
I warmed up on the way to Fleet Feet, the wind was cold and humid. The other 2 girls were re leaved to see me there. We all put a big smile on our faces as we headed out to the flooded streets. It was going to be a long morning. Within the first 4 miles we were soaking wet from attempting to dodge puddles and the larger rain drops. My socks squished in my shoes with each step. I could feel a few blisters begin to form. Although we looked miserable our spirits were extremely high. I have no idea what we talked about but it passed the time quickly. Before I knew it we were in Iroquois Park. At this point my legs were beginning to cramp and I had lost feeling from my elbows down. My fingers where red, white at the knuckles, and swollen. They were so numb I could not squeeze my water bottle nor open my Cliff Shots. With the rain still falling steadily it was going to be impossible to keep my hands warm. I had to find a way to distract my mind from the pain in my arms. I began to engage all 3 of us into conversation, it was helping.
As we exited the park the air became warm and dry. The feeling in my arms and hands was returning but they were still extremely swollen. My legs began to feel better and I was catching my second wind. When out on long runs I focus on the past, I congratulate myself for the miles I have completed. I break each run down into sections and never looked at what is to come. This helps the runs seem shorter. In my head I continuously tell myself you can do this, 10 miles is behind you, all the hills are over with and so on. It may not work for everyone but it allows me to focus on the positive.
The 2 girls I run with always have favorable comments. They never complain or want to be done. They live in the moment and are always pleasant no matter the distance or weather conditions. When I agreed to lead a pace group for Fleet Feet I was worried about the type of people I would be leading and if it would hurt my personal training for Boston. Instead the opposite happened, they motivated me and my training was right on target. I rarely missed a group run not because I was obligated but because I enjoyed the others I was leading. They have made my Boston training more memorable than I could have ever imagined.
As we approached the final 2 miles of our long run something amazing happened, we picked up pace. It is a challenge to pace others for negative splits. They always want to start fast which causes them to finish slow. If this happens during a race the feeling of defeat sets in. Over the past 8 weeks I have been working hard to keep us slow and finish strong. It was paying off. We didn’t speak much during the last mile but we were elated to be approaching the finish and running stronger than we were 18 miles prior.
We all shared a few smiles and high fives as we parted ways. Our morning 18 mile run was over. As the girls entered the store I continued on to my home. I never drive to meet the running group, I use my legs as transportation. By the time I reached my house I was at mile 19.5 and I was ready to be done. However, I felt the need to finish the last half mile. I ran past my house imagining I was in the chute at the Boston marathon. I tried with everything in me to push a little harder and soon my Garmin beeped, I knew I hit 20 miles. Damn it feels good, i patted myself on the back and said out loud, “Good job, good job.”
It was time to enter my house and become a mom and a wife and no longer a runner. My daughter was waking up from a nap and ready to play. There was rarely time to rest in our house after a long run. As I walked in the house she came running over and wrapped her little arms around my legs and smiled up at me. It felt good to be home with my beautiful bean. One day I hope she is proud of what I have accomplished and motivated to be active no matter how much stuff she has to do in life. I love being a working mother, wife, and runner. There is time for everything as long as you make it a priority. No excuses!