Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fire

Yesterday was THE run.

It was THE run I had been equally looking forward to and dreading for weeks. It was the run that (at least in my mind) would tell me that either I was on track with my training or I was not. It was "put up or shut up".

Going into this run, my confidence was not 100%. I was nervous. Several people had hinted/said that with all of the training I had done on the treadmill that I would struggle to hit my paces outside. I know that has not been true for me and I usually find it easier to hit my paces outside than on a treadmill, but still, that doubt nagged. I worried I wasn't as fast as I thought I was, or as fast as other people, or as fast as some people think I am, or as fast as I want to be.

The goal was 16 miles at 7:15. All 16 miles at goal marathon pace. Outside. (Which is the equivalent of running my half marathon PR from January, plus three miles, at altitude with hills instead of on a flat, sea level course).

When I left my house at 5:30am it was DARK. It was cold (about 20 degrees and snowing lightly). I was nervous. I was anxious. But I knew I had to just start moving forward - start running - give it my all - and hope it was enough.

It did not come easy. There were miles that felt really good, and miles that felt like there was no way I would finish. There were a lot of hills, but I kept telling myself that Boston has a lot of hills and that I had to stay strong. There were moments I felt strong and confident, and there were moments that I doubted. There were moments it felt like I had too far left to go and wouldn't finish.

But I didn't quit. I didn't give up. I didn't give in.

I finished. I did it. I reached my goal. I WAS fast enough. I WAS strong enough. I WAS tough enough. I did it.

It took all of my physical and emotional energy and concentration. I had my IPOD for distraction/motivation and when I got home I realized that I had barely heard any of the music, as I was concentrating so much (which is why I don't race with music).

It was tough. There was pain. There was burning. There was exhaustion. And yet on the other side of it, I am stronger (physically and mentally). My faith is stronger. I am more confident. I am better.

I have been thinking about how yesterday's run was a lot like going through the fires of life. They are so very challenging - emotionally, mentally, and physically. We struggle. We are challenged. We have pain. We burn. We get exhausted. We wonder if we have too far left to go. But if we believe in ourselves, stay strong, keep the faith, never give up, give it our all,  and keep moving forward, we can come out on the other side better. We can make it through the fire and be stronger, more confident, happier, more refined, more believing, more pure, and more ready to take on whatever comes our way.


25 comments:

fancy nancy said...

Amazing job!!! You couldn't have tied it to life better!!! You are an amazing and inspiring runner but you are those things and more as a person!

christa said...

You are amazing and inspiring!

giraffy said...

Great job, you're going to KILL it in Boston :D

robinbb said...

You are seriously amazing. I had no doubts you would kill that run. Congrats. 3 weeks to go!!!!

Katie said...

Awesome job!

Jill said...

Great job! I'm constantly amazed by your dedication and desire to meet the goals you set. I was aiming for a 7:15 pace at my next half marathon but my training has not been going that well. Maybe I'll try to follow your example and rededicate myself to achieving some goals.

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

Awesome job!

I have the same fear about my treadmill paces and if I will be ready to hit the paces on the roads. But in all reality, I have never seen a negative consequence.

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

Awesome job!

I have the same fear about my treadmill paces and if I will be ready to hit the paces on the roads. But in all reality, I have never seen a negative consequence.

Rene' said...

Amazing!!! The last paragraph was so thoughtful!

emlizalmo said...

Love it. You are awesome, awesome, awesome.

Penny said...

Your awesome Erin. Your a very strong person

Jen@runfortheboys said...

Great analogy and so true! Again, awesome awesome job on THE run. Boston is going to be a wonderful experience for you! Beautifully written post :)

Jessica Washburn said...

You are my hero. Period. Congrats!!

Run with Jess said...

Pure awesomeness!!! Great job - I love those confidence runs!

Mark Matthews said...

Great description. Almost 2/3 of the full marathon distance, and let there be no doubt that after a taper you will be able to do the full 26.2 at pace.

Like you, it's also easier for me to hit a target pace outside than inside, treadmills are just quicker recoverys for me.

you got this!

Lisa said...

Congratulations!!!! You inspired me earlier in the week on my pre-dawn run. I was tired, had slept very little, and was at a point where I could turn and shorten my run, or continue on my path. Thinking of you, I said out loud, "I DO NOT QUIT!!!" and finished what I set out to do.
Certainly not your pace, but done nonetheless.
thank you for continuning to inspire us. I cannot imagine running that fast for more than a mile! ;0

Yolanda said...

I am running my first ever half on Saturday. I am 46 and began running Jan 25 2011. Just over a year ago and found something that I can excel at. I pr'd my 5k last Saturday shaving 3 min and 14 seconds off of it. Any advice or encouragement would be appreciated. Yolanda.

Ugly said...

Your 7:15 pace for 16 miles is a 3:11 Marathon....

I think you will finish Boston in 3:15....

Your training could put you in a 3:08 marathon this year, but Boston will be around 3:15....

My advice on final 21 days:
1. Listen to your coach
2. Dont over due it
3. Dont eat differently
4. Dont be nervous
5. Dont let Boston get to you
6. Enjoy the experience

Good luck....

coach dion said...

I like what "Ugly" says, I like that your training is coming together. now remember that is is easy to race the clock, and that is all you have to do... so take the training and put it out there like this run. (your training said you could do it and you could.)

Good Luck

Jill said...

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am smiling ear to ear for you, girl! :)

L.A. Runner said...

Woot woot! Great job, girl!

SWMom said...

CONGRATS! Great run!!! I am so excited about Boston for you!

Valorie D said...

Fantastic to read this today! Well done!

Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom said...

Great job!

Kristin Miller said...

Whether it's 3 miles or 26.2 miles, this post rings true! Great job!