As some of you know, I’m training for a 50-mile run in D.C. in June. Couch-to-50-miles, baby! Go big or go home!
I don’t tell everyone about this crazy adventure because usually the reaction I get comes in slow motion: Huge googly eyes and the question emanating slowly and widely from a seemingly huge mouth: “Wwwwhhhyyyyyy would you do thaaaat?!!!”
The superficial answer: “My friend Noreen in D.C. is turning 50 this year and she wants to do something BIG to commemorate the event–so a friend and I agreed to run the 50 miles with her.” The slightly deeper answer: “I felt completely stuck in my life last October when I first heard the proposition and I knew I needed to do something HUGE to shake myself out of it.” The deepest answer: “It’s the hero’s journey.” And the truth: “The answer reveals itself little by little every day.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned though, it’s the truth of the saying, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” (Credited to Norman Vincent Peale according to the wisdom of the interwebs.) Last November when I started running (completely out of shape and 40 pounds overweight), I sustained injury after injury for a few months–all various forms of tendonitis. And it was winter so the sunlight was scarce and I appreciated being able to run under the cover of darkness. I liked that nobody could see me hefting my body through space with an expression of panting anguish on my face. It also felt like I owned the night (isn’t that a song?).
Fast forward to early March when suddenly I started saying things like, “Oh, this weekend was a short run. It was only 14 miles.” ONLY 14 miles? Who had I become that running just over a half marathon was a short run?!
And then Katie and I made our own marathon in mid April (the Lawson-Symons First Annual “Jesus Take the Wheel” Marathon). We chose 26.2 miles of the Highline Canal and we invited friends and family to support us by running with us or bringing us water or just cheering us on. It was ALL amazing. Not having to lug pounds of water on my back was much appreciated. And having company was a brilliant distraction from the fact that we were running so far (though I missed most of the talking because I couldn’t hear much over the sound of my own breathing).
And now, we’re about to raise the bar a little higher by doing a 50K (roughly 31 miles) on May 3. Katie has some nagging injuries to contend with and I have a slightly nagging mind to contend with, but we’ll have the companionship of a couple of friends and, as always, we’ll have each other.
On this birthday eve I send huge love and gratitude to Noreen for inspiring me to shoot for the stars. And I look forward to spending my birthday evening with Katie, the woman who inspires me during every run to keep going…even when I’m over it.