Friday, January 28, 2011

Why I decided to run 26.2 miles.

"Stillness must begin in the heart. It is a decision, an active choice, to become still, to still your soul. Sometimes, it is as if there is a bunch of monkeys in the tree-which-is-your-mind; and you will not still them by shouting. If you speak quietly and gently- peace will result." ~Celtic Book of Prayers.
I found this quote on one of my favorite blogs recently. Be Still and Know, a mother and physician and soon to be missionary in Africa, writes about her life and daily struggles raising a daughter with non-verbal learning disorder. Truly a brilliant writer... she has a way with words that reaches out and tugs at your heart strings. Check out her blog if you get a chance!

But I digress... 

As I was reading this quote on her post the other day I began thinking about that stillness. That silence is something I have been longing for recently. When I first began running last May, I dove into it head first out of complete desperation. I let go of one of my most feared demons... my addiction to nicotine and if I didn't keep moving I was terrified it would overcome me at any moment. So I ran... I ran to avoid that deafening silence; to avoid my brokenness. I then discovered that when you run... there is nothing but silence. Just you and your thoughts, flowing to the rhythm of your own two feet. It became cathartic and for the first time in a long time, I felt at peace with myself. At peace with the woman I was becoming. I ran my first half marathon and overcame one of my greatest fears. I also immediately decided that one of my life long goals of running a marathon was completely out of the question. 

"NO way in hell will I EVER do that twice in a row!" I thought as I ascended the freeway home.

Two days later I was already researching marathons that I could run in the upcoming year. I was hooked.
I found a training program that included walk breaks. Jeff Galloway became my personal coach and for every 5 minutes of running I included 1 minute walk breaks. I bought all the right gear, CW-X compression pants, garmin watch, interval timer, multiple pairs of running shoes... the whole bit. On June 5th I will be running my first marathon and have already decided to do another one, two weeks later and another one just a month after in SF. Yup... that's three marathons in the span of 90 days. I will officially become a marathon maniac this year! 

Today I ran 12.5 miles and it was incredibly hard... it took me 2.5 hours, my knees hurt, my legs are sore and I can barely descend down the stairs to my parking lot. Nearly three months into training and I am realizing that it is the silence that is the best and worst part of marathon training. Running such a long distance... you get to a point where your entire body begins to wither and your mind is telling you, "Enough Already!"

You become completely exhausted.... broken even and although you feel as if you cannot take a single step further... you keep going... you keep going to prove to yourself that you can. To push through the pain of it all because you know that in the end you will be re-built as a new person and that the discipline will bring you one of the most amazing accomplishments a runner can ever have.

Finishing 26.2 miles.

Today I ran 12.5 miles without the crowds of people cheering me on. Without music because my phone ran out of power. Without someone telling me, "Keep going... you're almost there!" I ran until my legs felt like jello and then I ran some more.

Today I ran 12.5 miles with nothing but silence and even though it was incredibly difficult... and even though I felt pain in every fiber of my body... I had the joy of knowing that despite my brokenness...
 I can overcome.

Now that is something worth running a marathon for.


  1. So true. I think I learned how to drown out the negative voices in my head when I was training for my half iron. Running/cycling out there all alone really makes you listen to the thoughts in your head. It really helped me to realize that in order to succeed, I better be more positive with myself.

    One of my favourite quotes:
    “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

    So proud of you for your multiple marathon plans. I can't wait to hear all about them!

  2. oh my! you can do it andi!! you can do it! :D

  3. AN-DI! An-DI! AN-DI! (that's me and the kids cheering for you!)

    We go outside and cheer on the Atlanta marathon every March. It comes right by our house and through our in-town neighborhood. We love it.

    Also, thanks so much for shouting out my dear friend KW's blog bestillandknow. I know and love her dearly, and am so happy you love her blog as much as I do. Hey. . .this is kind of like how you and Kelly are friends! (Didn't the world just get a teeny bit smaller?)

    Go Andi! We're rooting for you!

  4. Beautiful post! Good luck!

  5. That's so exciting, you CAN do it! This was a great motivational piece. I hope the stillness stays with you during the long runs. Best of luck training!