Four Years

I posted this on my personal Facebook page four years ago today:

I think I’m doing better.  Finding some peace. It’s been months/weeks/days since I thought about a baby, my baby.  But then, a closing scene on a sitcom depicts a couple deciding that they don’t want their daughter to be an “only” and that they don’t want her to miss out on the joy of having siblings and I find myself tearing up.

I need to run.

If my mind is focused on my pace and form, it doesn’t have time to think about how much B will miss by not being a big brother.

If I’m looking ahead and gauging the hills, I can’t “see” the familial scenes that will never be.

If my lungs are busy keeping up with me, they can’t afford the air to cry.

If I obsess about races and gear and personal bests, I don’t have time to think about temperatures and failed cycles and the garage full of baby gear I can’t sell.

If I run until my body hurts, then the hurt in my heart isn’t as apparent.

My family, rife with “oops babies” and hyper-fertility, can’t understand.

My husband, with his four other children and the shear fact that it isn’t him, can’t understand.

The road can’t understand, either, but it doesn’t need to.  It just takes the pounding and the beating and the cursing until I’m okay to head for home and enjoy the child that we have.

I may not have found peace yet but I will keep running until I do.

Update: I’m doing better, in this regard.  It isn’t quite so raw any more.  But I still have a garage full of baby stuff.

Grace and Progress

My fifth marathon (wait, what?! how did that happen??) is in just over 3 weeks.  I have been working harder than I ever have before.  I have been running at 3:30 am on a weekday

Notice the time… The glowing things are LR’s zombie, climbing out from his grave
in crazy hot and humid conditions, in rain, in fog, mile repeats on the track, 13 miles on the treadmill, you name it!  I ran 192 miles in September and seriously considered starting my 20 miler at 10 pm on Sept. 30 so I could have 8 of those miles round me out to 200. I have sometimes hit my pace goals. I have also, more often than I’d like, missed my pace goals (Spoiler alert: Navy-Air Force Half Marathon review coming up soon…)

My thoughts after Saturday’s 20 miler
After I posted about my run Wednesday morning (the 3:30 am one) and complained because I felt like I was so slow, my friend commented “You are at the tail end of a tough training cycle, emotionally and physically. Give yourself some grace and know that you’ll be able to do so much more on fresh legs.”

Grace. That is one thing that I have not done this training cycle.  I have beat myself as hard as can and have become frustrated when I can’t squeeze out more.  I have not been grateful that I can run 12 miles before work and not be totally dead on the sidewalk. I have not been thankful that my lungs are strong and my heart is healthy.  (my hamstring is cranky, but we’re not talking about that) I have not appreciated the thought that, while it might be a little nutso to run two marathons in two weeks, I don’t believe it will break me.  Me.  The person who just five years ago couldn’t even walk a mile without needing to sit down.

Part of my frustration is I feel like the nice weather is causing everyone around me to set the roads on fire, right when I’m struggling the most.  I’ll admit, I’m having a Nancy Kerrigan “why me??!” moment.

I also am having a hard time believing that my sub-par performance will get me to my goals on race day (the new race predictor from Runner’s World isn’t helping matters, either)

What progress really looks like. I feel like I’m in the bottom of that last pit but I’m about ready to climb out!
I think I just have a bad case of the end-of-training nuttiness.  I need to just keep my head down and keep following my plan.  I am running the Army Ten Miler on Sunday (4th time!) and I really hope some nice, solid work will help me get my head out of my butt.  If you see me out there, feel free to yell at me to quit whining and start working!

In the end, though, I need to remember to give myself some grace and be grateful for what I can accomplish, regardless of the time on the clock.  I hope you do the same, wherever you are on your journey.