In nine short weeks, it will be the night before one of the most storied and historic road races in the country, if not the world. The night before a race that covers 26.2 miles of western Massachusetts' rolling hills, passes countless universities, and ultimately ends in one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The Boston Marathon is rapidly approaching, and I have an official charity entry to it.
I am 25 years old; I have been in remission from acute lymphocytic leukemia for five years; I have already completed one marathon. And someone thought it would be a great idea to offer me a highly sought-after charity entry. Someone believed I could train through the winter, log in the necessary miles, and show up in Boston in April physically, mentally and spiritually prepared to conquer this marathon. They also believed my pledge that I could raise funds for this charity, an organization I so strongly support that I committed to doing something I still have no idea if I can do.
So there, then, is the crux of all of this: I have written before that I struggle hugely with self-doubt. That hasn't gone away... In fact, as the marathon approaches, my doubt is only growing. Truth: I am not running nearly enough miles (I don't think). Before today, I had only run Once in the past two and a half weeks, a run truncated by debilitating stomach cramps. For whatever reason, the past three weeks have basically just sucked for my general intestine. I don't know the cause of the issues, but I do know they have really been sidelining me. None of this excuses me, and I am not trying to justify anything, but do know that it takes a Lot to bring me down. I did finally see a GI doctor, and he recommended trying a few things to at least alleviate some of my symptoms. We scheduled a super-fun colonoscopy next week though, so maybe, just maybe, we can get this figured out. It was heartening though to finally meet with a doctor who was concerned about my weight loss and wants me healthy for this marathon. (Yes, I've lost weight because I'm just not holding onto the calories I eat.)
Now that I've gotten all that out, the Good. The good is that even though I didn't run the past two weeks, I haven't lost nearly as much of my fitness as I imagined. Today, I laced up my bright green sneakers, pulled on shorts over my running tights, yanked on my toque, and headed out my door with the intention of covering 6 miles even if I had to run/walk them. And I did! I ran all 6 miles and at my normal pace, no less. So, that's good. I felt great, too. No pain, no muscle fatigue, and relatively easy breathing. Yes, I have not yet gotten in a good long run. Yes, that is Hugely important and I kind of really need to get on that. But yes, I may actually have a pretty solid base mileage, and I am actually in pretty good shape/fitness. I am still fighting all the self-doubt, but I am done with letting it hold me back. And also, I am Healthy (GIssues aside), which is beyond awesome.
On March 1 from 7-10 p.m., at the Bannock Street Garage in downtown Denver, I am hosting a fundraiser for First Descents and this marathon challenge. Finally, the details are coming together for this event, and it is going to be a blast. Stop by if you're in town! My miles are accumulating; my fundraising is coming along; the sun is coming out from the clouds just in time for a stunning sunset over the mountains. We all struggle with something, be it doubt or fear or uncertainty whether we can accomplish what we have set out to do. The key, I think, is to stare down that emotion. Acknowledge its presence, accept what it means in your life, then do whatever it takes to persevere and push past it. Setbacks are an expected part of this life. It is how we approach them and deal with them that matters. So I am going to keep fundraising and keep running as far as I can even when I don't know how any of this is going to turn out.
Thanks for checking in; have a wonderful week!! Running more and more and more....