Monday, March 28, 2011

My 20 mile run... a lesson in perseverance

 Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

 Next time I'll be braver,
I'll be my own savior,
Standing on my own two feet...
~ Turning Tables

Today I ran 20 miles... the last long run I had was a horrendous, awful, failure. Yes... I finished it... yes it was within a reasonable time for any beginner (and a not so fast) marathoner.... but I hated nearly every second of it. I despised the hills... I hated my body for failing me and I was overtaken by injury and the lack of training from a month of no running really hit hard. 
I could not have been more discouraged. I wasn't even proud... I didn't even consider it a legit run because I ended up walking the last 4 miles or so. Recently, running has not been a happy place for me. It has become a chore and a mark on my calendar that I have to meticulously plan for and work around with every bit of my schedule. It zaps my time and energy and those are two things I am in serious lack of as of late. 
Last night I didn't sleep well... maybe 4 hours tops. I woke up dreading the run but the night before I had re-read the "Marathon Words" chapter in my training book and I was prepped. Relax... Power... Glide. Mantras to keep you going when you get tense or tired or lose your form. Amazingly the first 10 miles I felt pretty great and around mile 9 I even felt the runner's high kick in. "Pace yourself." I had to remember I was barely halfway there. By mile 16 I just kept telling myself... "Andi, you've been here before and you are doing great. You got this!" Mile 18 rolls around and the song "Turning Tables" by Adele begins blaring through my earphones.
"Next time I'll be braver,
I'll be my own savior,
When the thunder calls for me...
Standing on my own two feet..."
Pain was setting in now and everything was aching. At the end of every walk break it took immense amounts of push to get my feet moving at a jogging pace again. I felt like the tin man. But then, I realized that I had officially surpassed my previous longest distance and I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I was about to finish a 20 mile run. Just 6 miles short of a marathon.... I realized that my dream of finishing 26.2 miles was within reach.  
"I can totally do this! I can feel that marathon medal within my reach!"
See friends, it hasn't been easy... this marathon training as most of you know has been so much more than just running a ridiculously long distance. It has been about overcoming and feeling empowered. About letting go of fears and addictions and baggage. I have been struggling with those things lately and it isn't easy to admit to the world... but it's the truth and I believe there is power in honesty and humility. I am not perfect by any means... I still struggle with feelings of worthlessness and brokenness. I still struggle with the smoking issue. I have had my slip ups. I think it is a struggle I will always carry. My 17 mile run was a clear image of that but I refuse to give up and give in and today... at mile 18... I realized that I am so much more than my issues. I am so much more than any of it.
This time I will be braver...
Today I ran 20 miles because even though I am a broken human... I persevered...
and that my friends, gives me hope.


  1. hi andi!
    i'm amazed and proud of you! i would love to someday run that far- i'm lucky if i can do 3.
    thank you for your honesty- i get it-
    you go girl!

  2. I've been following your blog for the last few months...this is an awesome post...I'm humbled by your courage to write so openly and honestly for all to see...thank you for giving me inspiration today!

    also...i cant get enough of adele...