Medals aren’t earned only on race day

Last Sunday, I had a 17 mi run planned. It was noticeably warmer (92 ‘real feel’) that it had been, so I knew that the summer months had arrived and I won’t see an 80-something run day again until after my marathon in October. With the higher heat and humidity, comes more difficulty. And so I started my 17 mi run.

At about 3 mi in, I felt terrible. It was not a good run. I knew it, and all I wanted to do was call my husband. Sometimes I call to have a pep talk and have him remind me that I can do it. Other times I really do need to end my run and get him to pick me up. And I’ve been running long enough to know the difference when it is a mind vs body struggle. When it is my mind, I need to exercise the mental muscles to learn how to push through the negative chatter in my head and meet my goal for that run. If it is a physical issue, I have a check list I go through: am I hurt/injured? Am I out of energy? Or is it a physical discomfort that I can push through?

Sunday was a bit of a tired feeling and a whole lot of mental chatter. So I convinced myself that I would keep moving forward and see if I could make it to mile 5, to mile 7 for a water refill, to mile 8.5 where I would eat my baby food packet, to mile 10 where my husband would meet me for a gatorade stop, etc. And somehow, I ended up with a total of 17.1 miles for the night. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty. And honestly, it wasn’t enjoyable at all, but I did it. Two hours, fifty-five minutes to cover that distance, about 10:17/mi, but I did it.

Earn your medalAnd that is why I know that my marathon medal is not just about the run I have on October 25th. It is about all the running I do leading up to that. The short runs that I push myself beyond what I thought I could do at a faster pace. The Yasso 800’s (that I hate!) for speed interval training. The long runs that have me questioning my sanity. The rest days when I would rather be running. Yes, it is all about those days, even more than it is about the actual Marine Corps Marathon on October 25th. And I plan to earn that medal every time I lace up and head out for a run over the next 6+ months.

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