February has been quite a month! My Journey to Boston continues to become more exciting and intense, with some really difficult parts thrown in along the way!
I logged a total of 173 running miles in February, spread out over 21 runs. Those 173 training miles included three speed, 2 hill, and 2 pace setting runs. They also included two long – 20 and 22 – mile runs. On top of the running miles, February also had 4 cross-training work-outs which included yoga and incline treadmill walking, planks, crunches, squats, and free weights. Then, the other four days that rounded out the month of February were rest days. Ahh, four whole rest days!
You may think that since runners love running, that they love it everyday, and all the time. Not the case. A couple weeks ago, on Feb. 12th, I did my 20 miler. It was horrific. Like, literally, the worst run of my life. By mile 3 I wanted to quit, and yet I knew I still had 17 miles to go. Seventeen whole miles. My legs felt heavy. My knees hurt. My back hurt. I had zero energy. I hadn’t slept much the week prior. I was mentally and emotionally spent. Each step was absolutely draining. If it wasn’t for my mental determination, and knowing that others were counting on me, I never would have finished. And, even with that mental drive, my body literally stopped moving several times, no matter how much I willed it to keep going. So, I stretched. And, gave myself several pep talks. And, continued on. I am convinced, amongst other things, I was experiencing full lactic acid build up. If you’ve never experienced lactic acid build up, you can’t quite imagine it. The symptoms include a burning feeling in your muscles. Your legs feel like concrete blocks that are hardening more with each second. They ache and hurt like nothing you’ve ever experienced. You have cramps, and nausea, and weakness, and exhaustion. It’s very different than the soreness you experience for a couple days after a really intense workout. It’s actually your body’s way to tell you to stop doing what you’re doing. That is how I ran my last eight of twenty miles that day. By the end I was in tears. I told myself that I wasn’t a runner and that I never would be. I convinced myself that I didn’t want to ever run again. Like never. Ever. Ever. Ever.
Two days later, I ran again, because there are people counting on me, and because I was supposed to and I’m a rule follower. It was an 8 miler and it was warm and sunny and it felt good. And, I knew I was back.
Two weeks after my horrific 20 miler that nearly caused me to quit running for good, it was time for my 22 mile run. My mind started to mess with me. You can’t quite know what it feels like in the days before you are about to make your body run a near marathon until you’ve done it. The nerves. The questions. The doubts. The lack of sleep. The pressure. It all adds up, and builds, and builds. And, when you nearly quit on your previous long run, the doubts intensify. I tried to pull myself together. But, it took every emotional, mental, and physical ounce of strength I had to convince myself I could do it.
Thanks to the amazing support of Team Alyssa and those who have been encouraging me and praying for me along each step of the journey, I conquered my 22 mile run last Friday. It was only a decent run, but it was a life changing run at the same time. I spent each mile praying for a specific person or family or topic. And, when God brought someone to mind related to that family or topic, I briefly prayed for them as well, specific prayers, specific names and needs, and then went back to who that mile was focused on. I also took one mile to pray for my church and each staff member and their families by name. I took one mile to pray for our country, politicians, and the current candidates and their families. And, I focused my very last mile 22 to pray about cancer – those who are fighting, those who have lost loved ones, research, and everyone we know who’s been affected. I almost always pray over the course of my runs no matter how short or long, but this was the very first time I focused so specifically on names and needs and topics and outcomes and weaknesses, one mile at a time. And, it changed me. Along with the fact that I know many were praying for me over those hours, I know it was the reason I made it through that run after having wanted to quit.
Another huge February accomplishment is that my team met our goal and continues to raise funds to provide treatments that are saving the lives of patients today. LLS is making cures happen by providing patient support services, advocacy for lifesaving treatments and the most promising cancer research anywhere. And it’s all happening now. Not someday, today. I am so honored to be a small part of this!!
With just 6 weeks and 6 days until race day, the countdown is certainly on! I can’t say thank you enough to everyone who has supported me both financially and through prayer and encouragement.
March will be a very big month including a 24 mile run in less than 2 weeks and then a 20 mile run up in Boston with Team in Training!! Stay tuned for updates!