I did it. I accomplished my goal. 75 miles in 30 days. Completed on day 30... 13.5 miles to end my journey. I don't think I can accurately describe what I felt today as I started my 13 mile run. Terrified is a good word for it. But I put one foot in front of the other and started on the longest run of my life thus far. Yes... I had to walk. Yes... I had to take breaks. Yes... I am in pain; But I finished. I accomplished my goal. And that is worth more to me than any fear or pain I may have gone through.
I wondered about halfway through this journey, "Why am I running?" "Am I running away from something?" "Am I running to forget something?" "Am I running to find something?"
The answer I came up with was, yes... a little bit of all those things were true.
At 26, after yet another failed relationship attempt, and 10 hour days in the gym... I needed something to refocus my attention.
Running was the answer. If I spent 30-60 minutes a day running... that was 30-60 minutes a day where my mind could wander, where my heart was whole, where I was just me.
I had no one to answer to, no one to fake a smile for, and no one to put above myself when I was running. It was fantastic.
The first two weeks of my journey were amazing. I pushed myself farther than I ever thought I could go. Running 10 miles or more ahead of pace to reach my goal, I felt in control, accomplished and proud. However, as the weeks rolled by, and real life caught up with me, I realized how hard it is to keep a promise to myself. Especially when I was trying to keep promises to others. Slap on a trip to Tennessee and an extreme heat advisory and BAM... we're at day 30 with 13.5 miles left. Oops.
Today was one of the hardest physical tests I've put myself through in my lifetime. As a college athlete, I've spent many days wondering if I could actually accomplish the goals I set for myself. There were days when the pain was so bad that I thought I could never finish the task in front of me. Today was one of those days. Having not run in about a week and a half... I struggled severely after about 3.5 miles. (my normal run)-- I felt an enormous amount of pain in my right calf... that did not go away. I made it through 10 miles, mixing running with some walking here and there. I felt like a complete failure when after 2 hours I had not completed my 13 miles. But, after 24 years of gymnastics, I feel like I know my body pretty well... and I knew it was time for a break. I got myself some Gatorade and some ice for my calf and took about an hour break. I then re-dedicated myself to my mission and completed the final 3 miles of my 75 mile challenge.
Words cannot explain how much pride I felt when I finished that last mile. I am still not sure what I was running from or towards, but I am pretty sure that I will continue running until I figure it out. Granted... it may not be this week... as I believe I have severely strained a muscle in my right leg (LOL), I will continue to run. It will always be my "Me time," my time to connect with my inner self, and my time to let all of my inhibitions go free.
I hope everyone has an outlet like this for themselves. Something that allows them to reach deep within themselves and discover their true self. A challenge is always a great way to discover what you're made of. I never would have thought at this time in my life I was capable of accomplishing this feat in one day... "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne
Go ahead. Test your limits. Believe in yourself, and do great things... for yourself.