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What started as a little experiment in blogging has evolved into my renewed love for writing the raw, gritty truth. Running has always had so many parallels to life's ups and downs. As a new cancer survivor/fighter, running and writing has continued to be there for me in my quest to always move forward, always try to be better than yesterday. Find me: http://www.curetoday.com/community/kate or on facebook: running, cancer, and everything in between or on twitter: runliftbreathe

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Truth about Marathon Training: A sneak peak into the search for 26.2

     Training for a marathon is so much more than just the running.  Training for the Boston marathon is like coming to a cross road in your life where you question every path you have ever taken, and you wonder if you were ever headed in the right direction to begin with.

     My first marathon, I was still bright eyed and bushy-tailed. I didn't know any better, and I had high, if unrealistic expectations for myself come race day. As hard work, fate, or luck would have it, I had a near perfect 1st marathon after pretty flawless training. During training, though I had a nagging Achilles injury towards the end, it was summer, it was hot, I was "well oiled" so to speak before every run. I had plenty of time to stretch, foam roll, and then, ice after. The meat of my training was before my kids' school started up in the fall, before I started working a new full time job and before my life started moving at a sprint speed.

     I still clearly remember how amazing I felt when I toed up to start. I was hungry; I was here to not just finish the race, but to qualify for Boston. It was my day to take my victory lap. And even at mile 22, when things went from smooth and steady, to just finish this dam thing, I knew I would finish with no problem, and I knew I just might BQ (Boston Qualify).

     That 1st marathon was such a sweet journey for me. I had proven to everyone or at the very least myself that you don't have to look like a "marathon runner" to be one. Those of us with glutes and biceps and many hours in the weight room are capable of moving more than just iron.  And as unrealistic as it is to qualify for Boston at your very first marathon, it doesn't hurt to have the kind of attitude that says "why not, and why not me?" It is a memory that I will never ever forget; dreams can come true.

     Fast forward to today, and you would think it would be all sunshine and rainbows training for Boston, my first date, the impossible "bucket list" dream for 20 years. Truthfully, it is really, freaking difficult and on so many levels. I think there should be a special medal for all the Boston finishers who hail from the New England area. Sorry Kara, Mel and Shauna...I am not impressed. All the people who train for this race knowing year after year, it could be a winter like the one we are having right now (winter of 2015). It is mentally challenging, physically excruciating.

     For myself, after a near miss hit by a car during one of my long runs after another 24 inches of snow dumping, I brought my training inside, and this includes my long runs. Because of my daily life sprint of getting up between 4-430am to get my long run in before work, I had to take it indoors to be safe and let myself into the club I manage and bang out my 20 milers every Friday.  Yes, 20 miles on a treadmill. Inspiring? No. Smooth and easy? Definitely not.

     I am sore, tired and starting to feel banged up and as of this week, with 4 weeks left, plagued with an overuse injury.  I have had to add in some cardio cross training in place of some of my runs because my Achilles is screaming for mercy. I also might even say I've lost that loving feeling. And I have even danced with the devil, thinking...maybe I should just quit...maybe, I am not the runner I think I am. A part of me, just wants to get to the starting line so I can put this thing to bed. The other side of me knows no matter what happens from this day forth, the training is in the bank, I am strong enough, tough enough, I can do this. And then, back comes the realist to chime in...

I am no longer naïve. I know how hard it is to get through training without being side lined from an injury and now, I've got the start of a nagging overuse injury. I know even if I make it to the start, how hard 26.2 miles is, and how hard the Boston course is. I worry that I am not ready. I wonder why the hell I even took this on with everything else I have on my plate.

    How did I get to this point?  Where can I find the extra motivation, determination and drive from?  And do I have enough left to keep me mentally strong?  Am I strong enough to overcome the physical difficulties?

    I can only hope I have enough mental toughness to finish the battle I started. For the next 4 weeks, I  will continue the highs and lows of marathon training, and only time will tell...that truth, whatever it may be...that I am searching for.

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