Last week, when I was invited to contribute a post about my Boston Marathon training on a link-up for Runner's Connect (a site that has some really great resources for runners as well as specific posts for those who are gearing up to run Boston or want to run Boston in the future), I had planned to join in. However, every time I sat down to write, I just couldn't get in the Marathon Training Post Groove. I didn't quite feel up to sharing my training log or specific workouts yet and honestly, I didn't feel like I was officially marathon training. I mean, since I'm really training for my first ultra marathon in May and Boston is supposed to be a training run, it almost makes training seem less significant even though I know that's not the case. Maybe it has also been that I've been wanting a shift in focus this year. LESS about a specific goal time and making my training so public and MORE about running because of the pure joy of being out there on the trails running mile after mile because I love it! I've wanted this time around to be different than the last four times I've run Boston.
Today it finally hit me: No matter how I run (or race) Boston and how relaxed I want my race and training experiences to be, I'm still training for these races. I'm still getting out there every day--putting in the mileage and the mental work that will allow my body to actually run over 30 miles on a forest trail with major elevation gain and not DIE! And yes, I'm also still incorporating speed/tempo work into my weekly mileage because otherwise I'd be one pace: slow, slow, and slower. Even if I say I don't care so much about time, I suppose there will always be a part of me that wants to train hard enough to where I don't add too much onto my marathon time...training run or not! So, yes, I am marathon training (and ultra marathon training) and it's time to start owning that more and making it count!
Today starts week two of making up my mind to be more focused and dedicated with my running--to be less loosey goosey with my plans and more thoughtful about the miles and workouts I set for myself.
In addition, after today, I think I know what piece I'd like to add to training! It has nothing to do with running, strength training, or eating (those are all givens), and everything to do with some personal reflections I wrote on this morning: connecting with others with a spirit of love and gratitude...
Let me back up just a bit ...
This morning I woke up before the kids, grabbed my coffee and journal and sat down to write. Towards the end of my writing, I found myself writing out a prayer of sorts like I used to. Meditation, invitation, prayer. Just me writing words to more than just myself --words to the Universe. God. A higher power. Honestly, I'm not sure where I'm at with my spiritual life, but know without a doubt that it is an important part of me and one that has been hiding under a layer of emotional dust the last few years. I also know that when I open myself to connecting on a spiritual level, it carries over to my life in some pretty amazing ways! This morning's words/meditation are no exception--they were along the lines of wanting to focus outside of myself more. I scribbled down:
Less about myself and more about others. Who can I reach out to this week? How can I see someone else in a different way? I want to be receptive and open to new opportunities and relationships...with love, authenticity, gratitude.
Skip forward to later in the day...
When I got home from my run today, I was still thinking of my morning reflections while I checked my email. There in my inbox was such a kind and thoughtful email from someone I don't know too terribly well but she was reaching out to thank me for my support this year. Along with her email was a small gift card. What an unexpected smile to my day--a LIGHT. It stopped me for a few moments to reflect on how simple but yet meaningful this was and how much it related with what I had written in my journal earlier!
This email inspired me. It made me want to connect with others in this same spirit of gratitude, giving and kindness. I have 14 weeks until the Boston Marathon. For every week of marathon training, I plan to write (in my training log) one person from my life--close or acquaintance--that has impacted me in some way or that I want to connect with for some reason. This doesn't have to be complicated at all and it won't be. It is about INTENTION. The first person that comes to my mind when I'm writing my marathon training will be the person I reach out to. Maybe I just send a text or email saying hello. Maybe I will thank someone for their role in my life and let them know of a specific way that have inspired or helped me or others. Perhaps I'll pick up pen and paper and write a good old fashioned letter to a family member I haven't connected with in years. Whatever I do, I'm thankful for the inspiration that came with this unexpected email today!
At the end of this 14 weeks, I will be riding the bus to Hopkinton and running that familiar and favorite marathon course into Boston. I will have logged many (most) a mile on mountain trails. And I will have reached outside myself in more ways than one!
So, here's to continuing marathon training with some added components. I'm glad to have something just a little different to write down in my training log in addition to the workouts. As for that traditional marathon training post I was invited to write? I just might get to that too! There's been lots of good stuff... In the meantime, I'm enjoying the process...and continuing to see how marathon training carries over to LIFE!
To make this long post a little longer, below is the elevation profile for our 15 mile run last week on some of the most beautiful portions of trail that run along the Deschutes River in Bend, OR. To some, this elevation profile looks tough and to others (my extreme trail running friends), it looks wimpy. When you add the rocks, mud, and turns, this course kicks my butt!
|Stopping briefly at mile 7 to snap a shot while the river roars below.|
- Do you feel more ON in other areas of your life when you are marathon (or whatever distance or sport) training?
- Do you have non-running/health components to your athletic training?
- Is there someone in your life that you haven't connected with in a long time (or ever)...someone to reach out to just to thank, ask about their life, or let them know how they have impacted you or others in a positive way?