>Marathon Training: Week 8; and crossing the finish line

>I seriously can’t believe training is halfway done. Only ten more weeks until the marathon! That means only nine weeks until my birthday. The next several weeks are crucial, as there is hard-core mid-week training as well as long runs on the weekends.

Monday: I rested since I did 12 miles the day before.
Tuesday: A difficult 3 miles (30 min) on Grandview. Took my running clothes to work and changed before I left. I knew if I went home first, I wouldn’t go back out. And besides my run I planned on just getting some things done at home (cleaning, cooking, baking bread.. yum!)
Wednesday: 6.58 mi (9:49 pace) at Mt. Hawley. Got home after work and was seriously contemplating “resting” again. I had a snack, messed around on the computer, and got my butt outside. It was so nice to run in a t-shirt and capris, and to have slightly warmer air fill my lungs. It was a fabulous run!! I had never run that far with such a good pace, and I sprinted the last half mile or so. It was heaven.
Thursday and Friday: rested… and I’m glad I did. I’m not sure that running four days a week is the best thing. If I had run the 4, 7, 4, 15, that would have put me at 30 miles again for the week. Not sure my body is ready for that. Really.
Saturday: 14 mi (10:30 pace!!!!) all around the Heights. Gabi and I went with her friend who’s much more experienced than we are. I can’t believe I lobbed off a minute per mile for a longer run! Last weekend if you recall I ran 12 mi with a 11:25 pace. It definitely makes a difference to 1) eat a little something beforehand, 2) run with friends, and 3) take something to drink (I mixed one of those vitamin packets into some water). I am seriously so proud of myself.
Sunday: Did some easy yoga poses and stretching in the morning; went to the gym and did 15 min on bike, 15 on elliptical and upper body resistance machines… I feel energized and my muscles aren’t as sore.

I think I cleared a major mental hurdle this week. I am such a perfectionist, and it’s something the Lord and I have been working on for a long time. It’s even worse when I’m new to something like knitting or running. I get down on myself; even if I got off my butt and ran, it’s not good enough unless I beat my previous times.

I also get easily intimidated by other runners who I perceive are better than or more experienced than me. I have a broken record of all the things they must think of me.. and I know it’s ridiculous and probably not even true.

I have to remember that God is in control, that He gave me these long legs, this strong heart and this curvy body for a reason and my times don’t matter to Him. He did give me a brain that loves logic and numbers, and I want to enjoy watching myself improve. But ultimately what matters is that I’m treating my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and that I’m taking care to make it healthy and strong so I can fulfill His work in my life. I got a shirt made for the marathon that says “I run for His glory” with “Let us run the race of endurance, Hebrews 12:1” on the back. It will help me remember why I can even finish 26.2.

Running could so easily turn into a punishment for eating too much, or an addiction. I joke around about being addicted to running, but I assure you, I am not. I absolutely do not have to run every day, and I looooove food so much. (Yes, I know, I should just marry it!) I am, however, proud of my weight loss and maintenance, and I strive to be an inspiration to others, especially those who were never athletic before. Even in high school I couldn’t run to save my life. In fact, on our midterm running test I got a D. I only ran 14 out of 20 minutes, just to get by. And I was skinny then!

I will probably cry my eyes out when I cross the finish line in the U of I stadium in April. It’s not just an athletic achievement, but a culmination of everything I have been through spiritually, emotionally and physically in the past two years.

Two years ago I couldn’t even run a lap on the treadmill. I was fifty pounds overweight. We were $20k more in debt. I had no idea that we would be spending 26 months apart (ironic, right?). Two years later, we are both successful in our careers, I am fifty pounds lighter and more fit than I have ever been. We have paid off over $20k in debt and have no money worries because we know from experience that God will provide! My husband and I have a fabulous marriage and relationship that easily could have crumbled under all the worldly pressures. But in the eight years we’ve been together, we’ve never been more in love or more devoted to accomplishing what God has for us.

My personal goal is to break five hours, but regardless, I will be crossing the finish line for the both of us. For our growth, for our relationship, and for our future.

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