Last weekend I ran 15 miles for my long run. This was a HUGE shift in my marathon training as up until this point I have run a half marathon distance or less for my long runs- a distance that I have run before. While that distance started getting hard with no “course support” or cheering fans that I am used to having if going above ten miles, it was not nearly as intimidating as suddenly being back in the place where I have to think to myself “I have never run this far before.”
The last time I went through a series of weeks where that was in my head was when I was training for my first half marathon. That was also born out of a desire to run with Team World Vision and without a doubt it changed my life. Now, with training for a marathon, it may seem obvious but I am constantly surprised that going twice the distance is way more than twice the work.
I can honestly say that I took a JOURNEY during my 15 mile run. I started my run earlier than I have ever started a run before (just before 4:30 AM. yowza.) and ran a lot of miles in darkness. When the sun finally did rise I felt a mix of relief that it was not longer dark and dread that it was about to feel even hotter than it already did (thank you 90%+ humidity…) I spent several miles in the back half of my run wondering if this is worth it.
Is this worth the early hours and lack of sleep?
Is this worth the borderline ridiculous investment we’ve made in running shoes and nutrition and hydration supplies? In sportswear?
Is this worth asking my husband to sacrifice so much time to wrangle the kids solo during his time off while I run? To reorganize our household schedules, and to put our social life basically on hold?
Is it worth how anxious I get sometimes running alone?
Is this worth it when I have no idea what will actually happen on race day?
And the truly crazy thing is that my answer during those really hard miles was a resounding YES.
Yes, it is worth it because I am doing something this hard to bring attention to the needs of kids around the world.
Yes, this is worth it because I am continuing to surprise myself with finding reserves of strength and perseverance I didn’t know I had.
Yes. this is worth it because when you feel so deeply called to something and say no, you keep thinking about it the rest of your life and wondering what if.
Yes, this is worth it because every time I go for a long run I am choosing faith over fear.
Yes, this is worth it because there is going to come a day when I can’t use my body in this way and that day is not this day.
Yes, this is worth it because while success on race day isn’t promised, neither is practically anything else in this life, and it’s probably good for my brain to continue to wrestle with that.
I’ve been reading the book A Race Like No Other by Liz Robbins on my rest days. It goes through the whole NYC marathon race course and I’ve been purposely just reading a few chapters each week to get me excited for race day. This sentence that was in the introduction of the book about why people run this crazy race hit hard and I have repeated it to myself over and over since reading it a few weeks ago. I repeated it again during my long run this past weekend:
…They run to check it off the life list
They run to eat cake or to chase vanity
They run to suffer so others will not.
They run because they cannot stop running…
They run to suffer so others will not. That’s what I’m trying to do. (You can read more about that HERE.) “I have never run this far… until today” it is something that will be true of four more planned runs in the next two months. They will inevitably involve mental and physical suffering… but I run to suffer so others will not. I run because I’ve come this far, I cannot stop running now. And God willing, once November 6th is over, I won’t say the phrase “I’ve never run this far” for a very long time… (maybe ever!)