an epic beginning

Yesterday was the wettest December day in the Washington DC area since the year 1871.

It was pouring rain.  There were flash flood warnings.  The rain was coming down sideways, it was so windy.  And to top it all off, when the sun went down it was COLD.

All day long I was debating whether or not I would go to my scheduled track workout at 6:30pm.  I own a treadmill and I have a gym membership, too – so I had other options and didn’t necessarily *need* to torture myself by doing the workout outside.  Also, I have brand new shoes that I really didn’t want to get soaked and soggy so soon after purchasing them.

But this week brought with it the very beginning of my spring marathon training cycle.  I’m going to be honest here and tell you that this fact is a somewhat daunting to me.  I fought so hard when I trained for MCM and had the best training cycle of my life, ultimately PRing by 54+ minutes and coming within less than two minutes of qualifying for Boston.  When it was over, I knew I wasn’t done but I also knew it was time for a break before starting up again.

I spent the month of November recharging my batteries and resting my legs.  Taking a break from thinking about marathon training – all. the. time.  And now, here I am, starting a new training cycle and setting big huge enormous goals for myself.  I am going to run a 3:35 marathon or faster.  I am going to qualify for Boston.

It’s time to start working hard again.  It’s time to start going after this big dream of mine.  It’s time.

So yesterday when I looked at the weather I had to have a little conversation with myself about what to do.  I believe that a workout is a workout whether it is done on the treadmill or outside.  In the winter months I often have no choice and have to run on the treadmill to get my miles in because I can’t push my kids in the stroller in freezing cold weather, rain or snow.  Yesterday, I had a choice though.  My husband was coming home to take care of the kids so that I could go to the track.

In the end I realized that really, I only had one choice.  And that was to go.  I could wear my old shoes, they would be fine for one more workout.  I do not quit and I do not give up.  I FIGHT for what I believe in.  I do not make compromises or take the easy way out.

This is going to be a marathon of epic proportions for me.  I am writing my own story.  The beginning just had to be good.  It cannot be ordinary because nothing about this journey will be ordinary.  A speed work session on the treadmill would have done just as much for my fitness, but it would have done very little for my spirit or my mental game.  And I am training my mental strength and my faith in myself just as much as I’m training my body.

So after feeding the kids dinner, pumping a bottle for the baby and kissing everyone goodnight (including my incredible husband) I put on my old shoes, a pair of shorts (I figured my legs would be cold and wet no matter what I put on them, so shorts would be just fine) and layered a tank and a long sleeve shirt underneath the coolest most awesome rain repellent running jacket ever made (the lululemon Run: Hustle jacket) and headed out the door to pick up my sister.  She hopped in the car and took one look at me and said “WE ARE CRAZY.”  Yup.  No doubt about that statement.  It is 110% the truth.  And we love it.

We are runners.  And there is nothing that will stop us from chasing our dreams.

When we got to the track we were psyched to see so many people from our training group who are equally as hard core, as crazy and as dedicated as we are.  There were a lot of us, including many from our fall training program.  I was especially excited to see my sister Megan and my friends Amy and Brooke.  We are all dreaming big.  All rooting for one another.  All laying it out on the line.

do you see those smiles?  this is what proud {crazy} runners look like after an awesome workout!

Coach Brian had us warm up and then run 1×1600, 2×800 and 2×400 with 3:00 between each set, at 10k race pace.  I loved every second of it and maintained an average pace of just around a 7:10 mile with every set.  Then I cooled down with a few easy laps and called it a night.

Running under the lights on the high school track, in the pouring rain and freezing cold with the wind whipping at you can only be described as EPIC. It was exhilarating.

After we finished Jodi and I walked up to the car and just laughed and laughed.  We could not take the smiles off our faces.  We felt like heros.  We felt proud.

i will always love this picture. crazy and happy and proud and TOGETHER.

When I got home, Robert had a fire going in the fireplace.  Two out of the three kids were sleeping peacefully in their beds.  Abby was waiting up for me and she asked me how my run went, if I was cold and soaking.  She told me she was proud of me and that she can’t wait until the two of us can going running like that together some day.  Completely melted my heart.  I am so lucky, so blessed.

I put Abby to bed, took a quick shower and then went downstairs where Robert and my sister Megan were waiting for me with hot pizza (yummmmm).  The three of us laughed and chatted as we ate our dinner by the fire.  It was the perfect way to end the evening.

I have no regrets about last night.  It was just what I needed to kick start this training program.  It reminded me of why I do what I do.  I know I will look back on this night many times over the course of the next three months as I work towards getting to the start line of the Rock n Roll USA marathon.  I’m sure to have moments of self-doubt along the way and the memory of this workout will do wonders for kicking them to the curb.

I am strong in body, mind and spirit and nothing will stop me from running towards this dream.

6 thoughts on “an epic beginning

  1. Love your blog! I am running the half for Rock N Roll and it will be my second half marathon only after running my first 5K last April. It has been such a liberating journey and is a great example for my young kids. Your blog motivates me. Thanks!

  2. Loving this post. And I still think you're crazy, but in a good way. 😉

    I am embarassed to admit this, but your post made me cry!! I so wish I had a companion in running like you do. The bond you have with your sis is great 🙂 I can't wait to see you tear up the Rock'n'Roll course – I'll be cheering loudly for you, all the way from WA state!

  3. Really interesting post. I was sure you would opt for the treadmill! You proved me wrong! 🙂 Clearly you are mentally ready for a challenging training cycle and I am excited to see you go on this journey!

  4. I loved this post, Jessica! I'll try to take some of that spirit with me through the last hard weeks of my own training (including a track workout tomorrow!).

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