I am disappointed that I have been training for this marathon for the last two months now, and haven’t made the time to blog about my experience so far. All I have wanted to do is put just enough time in for an Instagram or a Facebook post and then move on so I can keep on enjoying this ride.
I would be TOTALLY lying if I said every run has been amazing and I haven’t doubted myself one moment on this journey. I would also be lying if I said I hated it and can’t wait for it to be over. It has had some extremely high moments and strong long runs. There have also been runs when I feel defeated and only make it 2-3 miles when I should be going 5-6.
The thing that has ALWAYS kept me moving forward and ultimately reinforcing my determination to push through is my team. They keep me from going too hard and burning out too early. They also push me to find my strength when I don’t think I have anything left to give. I am so thankful for each one of them.
On Saturday I ran my furthest distance EVER. It wasn’t easy, there may have been a tear or two of joy at the end. I was so proud of myself and so thankful for all the support from my pace group. Passing the 13.1 mark really marked the beginning of marathon training. Short runs are now what I used to see as a long run. I focused my energy and stopped giving myself room for excuses. I filled out a promise card on Sunday night and promised myself that I would show up this week and in the weeks coming.
This morning was my biggest test since making that promise. I was going to show up to November Project. I gave my commitment on the training team page, people knew I was going to be there. I live 4 minutes down the road. I didn’t have anything crazy the night before and I didn’t have to be at work until 9am. There was no excuse why I wouldn’t be on top of Mt. Trashmore at 6:15 ready to bounce. I was still really nervous. I knew I wouldn’t have my core group, it was outside of my comfort zone. I knew I might be alone in the crowd.
I waited until the last minute to leave my house, but I made it there- remembering my promise to myself. I was greeted with hugs and high fives. I briefly talked to Ryan and said hello to a few other familiar faces. There were far more faces that I didn’t recognize, but I was there. I tried to put on a big smile to try to conceal my fear and shyness and maybe look a little more approachable. I reminded myself it is okay to be uncomfortable for 45 minutes of the day, time keeps moving. Once we started moving, the time absolutely flew by, even though hills are definitely a challenge for me since I have never trained on them (the burn!!).
At the end I was completely shocked when Ryan passed on the November Project Hard Hat to ME! He won it last week for his commitment, his passion, dedication, and for bringing together two incredible organizations in our community………. Um… All I did was show up. I am a stranger to most of the people in the NP tribe, why was I getting this??
I didn’t even want to put on the hat for the picture, it didn’t feel earned. I wasn’t really part of the tribe, I was just there. Then I thought about it- and I looked down and had a flashback to the last time I held a hard hat. Thirteen months ago I was laid off from my job working customer relations in the construction industry when my company lost our contract. It was an absolutely devastating moment that turned my life upside down. When I joined the training team for Shamrock season last year, I was unemployed and I really felt lost most of of the season. It was around this time last year that I started to discover a new me. It hasn’t been an easy journey. I was unemployed for almost six months, which made me doubt myself in every way. I had a small injury over the summer. There was friction in my marriage as my husband and I adjusted to living together again after he was deployed for over a year. I went through a difficult period of depression in the middle of the Fall training season which caused me to lose some of my motivation and focus.
Here I am though. I am still showing up and keeping the promises that I made to myself. I am training for a mother-fuckin MARATHON when a year ago I still wasn’t sure if I even liked running! I am an ambassador to an INCREDIBLE organization that does so much good in my community.
I have celebrated the highs and I have worked through the lows of the last year to get me on top of this trash mountain. It’s actually a good metaphor I guess. (The park where November Project meets is on Mt. Trashmore, yes it is a “mountain” of trash turned in to a really great park.) This morning I found myself with a hard hat in my hand and so much gratitude in my heart for my journey. I did earn it, I was deserving. Allowing myself to feel that pride and gratitude was such an incredible gift.
I have started to believe people when they say that showing up is the hardest part. It is easy to listen to the negative voices in your head telling yourself that you are too weak, too awkward, too cold, too hot, too tired, too busy, too whatever. The incredible community that I have found myself completely immersed in has started to make it easier to just show up. I don’t give myself as much time to talk myself out of showing up based on fear. I am not just part of a team, I am part of a community of absolutely incredible people. I look forward to the new and unknown a little more each time, because this community hasn’t let me down. This morning it felt like my community grew, but really it has been there the whole time, just waiting for me to show up.
Thank you November Project Virginia Beach.