23km: The Crux

Yesterday I woke up to do my Sunday run and for whatever reason, I found myself in another world. My train was delayed getting into Toronto; meaning I didn’t get my usual Saturday night sleep, but lack of sleep was not the problem. I hopped out of bed without delay, ate my oatmeal in silence, bundled up knowing it was cold and headed out the door without question. Yet, as I stood on the platform waiting for the street car the only thought that came to mind was “why am I doing this”? For me, 23km is the turning point in training; it’s the distance where I acknowledge that my life is about to revolve around running. It is the beginning of a journey where I will likely experience every possible emotion ranging from sheer excitement, as I prance around in my heavenly utopia to endless hate and frustration, where I lay silently in a deep dark hole of doubt and disappointment. I’ll have days when I’ll want nothing more than to curl up and do nothing and I’ll have days where I won’t shut up about the sport or about how good I feel after a 30km run. And while I am in no way degrading the significance of the half marathon distance, committing to run a marathon is committing to a certain lifestyle. Not only are you running long distances but you need to set aside time to recover. As such, by signing up for a marathon you’re basically loosing a full day every week for the next few months as Sunday afternoons (or your long distance run days) are often spent at home, on the sofa recovering. In addition, in my case this was my first full week of two days workouts and I think it hit me that THIS schedule was going to be my life for the next 5 months.

At one point during our unusually silent run, I turned to our coach and shared with her the first time I ran 23km. It was last year (2013) and as soon as I saw my watch click to 21km I started to cry. I cried because I had already told myself that 21.5km was my maximum and I could not go any further. As tears ran down my cheeks I told myself I was an idiot for signing up for the marathon. I thought about how I was such a let down and it was ridiculous for me to assume I could run 42.2 kilometres. I continued to cry and internally beat myself up until we stopped moving, at which point I realized we had finished the route and I had run 23km. It was in those short two kilometres where I realized that anything is possible and started to tell myself that I could, in fact, do this.

Minutes after sharing this story with my coach we encountered a long hill that inclined gradually over a never-ending bend. What likely took 10 minutes to run up felt like a painful eternity! Of course, as I’m pumping my arms and gasping for breath I’m thinking “You think this is tough?! You signed up for the 50km VERTICAL challenge you door knob. Are you nutts”?! Once I got to the top I wondered how I was going to run another 10km and finish the route since I was out of breath and exhausted. But putting one foot in front of the other isn’t as difficult as running 10km, so I focused on that and roughly 55 minutes later, we finished the 23km run.

I could live a simple life – one where I would obtain simple results, but I don’t stand for a simple life. I stand for a life where I am pushing my ambitious soul to new limits in order to achieve extraordinary results! In addition, I’m committed to inspiring others through my achievements in hopes that they will push beyond their existing limits and comfort zones. As such, all the sacrifices I make for running are worth it! I stand for greatness and when my mind begins to wander I just need to focus on that notion.

Burpee Count (510) – I know, I’ve got some catching up to do!

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