When I make New Year's Resolutions, they're often too ambitious to take seriously. This year when the clock struck midnight, I made four New Year's Resolutions--
1. Learn a different language. (Still hasn't happened...probably won't happen...)
2. Do 10 push-ups. (In progress.)
3. Travel as much as possible. (My #TouristOlympics game has been real strong.)
And most importantly,
4. Run a race in a different country. (I've never traveled outside of the USA.)
Today I am only days away from going to Beriln to run one of the biggest marathons in the world, the Berlin Marathon. It's surreal. I'm terrified and excited to make the trip across the pond to run a world major. I still can't believe I can run a mile yet alone run a marathon so I'm pinching myself, hoping and praying that this isn't a glorious dream. (So far everything seems real! Maybe it isn't a dream!)
There comes a point in marathon training where you feel like even though you're giving everything you have, time is running out. It's a sobering moment realizing that the impossible thing that you've sacrificed so much for is weeks away. When you run a marathon, you never really know what to expect so you play all sorts of different scenarios out in your head hoping and praying that you just make it across the finish line. (I'm about to run my 4th marathon and I'm still freaking out.) Running a marathon is a deeply personal experience. Words fail to describe what it feels like to train for and then run a marathon.
I think a part of the reason I cling to running is because it's helped ground my search to find something bigger than myself. I struggled to feel happy or find purpose after my brother passed away. I felt like my pain and grief defined me and I hated waking up and feeling the wave of dread wash over me every single morning. I still struggle to make sense of the fact that I can't pick up my phone and call my brother or go home and see him sitting at the computer. It's hard and it doesn't get easier. Going on without him still feels impossible. But I have to. I don't really have a choice, tomorrow is going to come whether I want it to or not. Training for these terrifying marathons helps me move forward when I don't want to and gives me an escape. But most importantly, it's shown me that it's possible to find joy even in pain.
This weekend my family and I went to Chicago to visit my Cousin William. I knew I had to run 20 miles before my taper began for Berlin but I've grown accustomed to being distracted by friends during my long runs. I knew I didn't want to run alone so I put word out on the internet that I was looking for people to run with.
ALRIGHT #CHICAGO I'm taking a play out of the #runwithhart @kevinhart4real playbook and im throwing together an impromptu run! I'm running 20 miles tomorrow and I need you on foot, skateboard, hover board, scooter or bike! I'm running about a 9:30 min/mile pace! Meet at this bean at 7:15am to join!Whether you're running 2 miles, 10 or all 20-- I need you! Don't make me run alone! Why? Because I'm gonna get lost and I HATE running alone. I promise jokes and laughs the entire time! I'm running 10 out and 10 back along your lake trail and I have no clue what I'm doing so I need you. I'll tweet 4 mile marks if you want to jump in along the way. (Although once I'm 10 miles in no promises. I'm going on 5 hours of sleep.) questions? Email me! #RunSelfieRepeat #chicagomarathon #tcsnycmarathon #berlinmarathon #touristolympics
I arrived late Friday night and met up with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin Paul at the hotel.
Then when I woke up Saturday morning, I realized I made the mistake I make EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND...I forgot to get breakfast food. Turns out downtown Chicago isn't an early morning city and I had to walk all around downtown trying to find somewhere to get a banana! (GET IT TOGETHER CHICAGO! WAKE UP EARLIER!)
Once I found some food, my Aunt KK and I took off for my designated meeting spot at The Bean to see if anyone was going to show up to run with me. Just as we were about to give up, a confident smiling face ran up to us.
What followed was 10 miles of sheer bliss, 5 miles of indifference and 5 miles of heated rage. We started out great! I got to spend the first 10 miles with one hell of a woman, my new hero Morgan. I don't think anyone understands how special the running community is. Grateful is the word that comes to mind when I think about the first 15 miles of this past Saturday's run. As we started running together, I learned that Morgan is training for her very first marathon, The Chicago Marathon. We talked more and more about running, how we found it and why Morgan was running the marathon and I learned that Morgan is one hell of a woman.I am so inspired by her courage to tackle this marathon. She, like me, has suffered loss and she's running the marathon for the American Cancer Association as a way to give back.
Morgan reminded me what it means to persevere and why it's so important to share our stories, struggles and triumphs. All to often when we go through something truly terrible, we retreat and try to act like everything is OK. I know I personally isolated myself because I didn't know what to do. I was the first person in my circle of friends to lose a family member suddenly. And I didn't want anyone to see me crumble so I put up a stoic and stable facade whenever possible. It's so important to remember that you are never alone. All you have to do is focus on getting through today. Go do something huge, make a difference and work on putting one foot in front of the other. It's so important to make yourself open to new things and do whatever you can to find joy, even in your pain.
It got me thinking, with my birthday coming up I have a request. If you are looking for a way to give back, consider making a donation to the American Cancer Association in Morgan's honor. Why? Because Morgan reminded me how important it is to work for something that is terrifying and seems impossible but still give it everything you have. We have to support each other when we take a leap of faith so I would love it if you could take a second and donate anything, even $1 to either Morgan's efforts or to some other organization who needs your support.
CLICK HERE to donate.
Because Morgan met up with me 8 miles into her run, she finished her run when I got to mile 10 of mine. After we left Morgan, my Aunt KK and I (who spent the entire time on a bike so I wouldn't be alone) turned around to head back downtown. It was a particularly rainy morning and I was soaking wet! The next 5 miles were neither spectacular or terrible but I definitely was trying to get through them.
There were SO MANY runners out on Chicago's Lakefront Trail! I have never seen that many runners out IN MY LIFE. (Or that many attractive men. MY GOD turns out all the hot guys are living in Chicago!) Central Park doesn't even begin to compare to what Chicago was like! It was amazing!
Around mile 15 I started getting really antsy. I was over it. I was wet, bored, tired and hot. I made a big mistake and let my attitude dictate my run which is rule #1 of marathon training. Normally if I'm having a bad run, I start trouble shooting until I can figure out how to turn my frown upside down. Instead of trying to laugh through it I chose to spend the 5 miles grunting and muttering the F word over and over again. (It didn't help.)
I sent my Aunt away at mile 18 because I wanted to put my music in and just bang out the final 2 miles. I had originally planned for 22 because at mile 10 I was feeling great but by mile 19 I just wanted to finish and get on with my touristing. 2 very long miles later, it was over and I couldn't help but celebrate that I was finally in my taper.
The next time I run anything with a 2 in front of it, IM GOING TO BE RUNNING THE #BerlinMarathon! That's a wrap on today's long run boys and girls. No pain in the calves (clap it up for Americas hero and PT wizard Mike Riccardi at @finishlinept 🙌🏾) thank you @zensah for these calf sleeves that I haven't taken off since I got them and a HUGE thank you to my new best friend @morganmsmith for running 10 with me and my aunt @kkvision for biking 18! Alright yall it's Berlin then the #TCSNYCMarathon! It's getting real! Welcome to taper #1! #RunSelfieRepeat #touristolympics
My family and I spent the rest of the weekend running around Chicago training for the Tourist Olympics. My favorite part was swimming in the Lake because it was one trillion degrees and I've only gone to the beach three times this summer! (Which for this former Southern Californian is Sacrilegious!)
Then Monday I woke up and got in some quick recovery miles before spending the rest of the day visiting the University of Chicago where William goes to school.
I love Chicago but my God it was hot and muggy! Saying goodbye to my family is always really hard. I hate that I live so far away from them. We had a ridiculously fun time in Chicago and I wish I had a time machine so I could do it again.
Only 19 more days until the Berlin Marathon and even though I'm in my taper, every single ounce of energy is going towards a perfect race day! So lots of Physical Therapy, foam rolling, stretching and time in the recovery sleeves.
I can't believe it's almost here! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.