It’s funny how your perspective of what constitutes “a lot of miles” completely changes as you get deeper into a training cycle.  When you first start your training plan and your long run is 5 miles long, to think that at some point 5 miles will be easy is very hard (maybe impossible) to imagine.  And then when you are in the thick of the highest mileage weeks and running 5 miles is an “easy” run, you just have to think of that and smile.  You realize how far you have come.  You remember and respect how hard that 5 miles once was, but you understand you are stronger and you feel proud of yourself for doing what it took to get there.

I ran 55 miles last week – the most I have ever run in a week, in all my life!  This week I’m cutting back and hitting 48.  The fact that 48 miles = cutting back these days, really tells me how much things have changed.  My long run today was “just” 14 miles – a nice break when you think about the fact that I ran 20 miles on a treadmill last Saturday.  I mean, really.

One year ago today was my due date – I was about to give birth to baby #3 (he was late by 5 days) and one mile seemed like a huge journey to me.  One mile was a huge journey for me.

Me & My BIG Belly ~ Due Date: 1/28/11

(Don’t I look happy in that picture?  I have had three babies and two of them were born after their due dates.  I prefer when they are early, but of course they are always worth the wait!!!)

Today I ran 14 “easy” miles, and as I ran I thought about where I was exactly one year ago, and how I would never have been able to imagine the life I am living today.  I remembered how I was feeling back then, filled with wonder and – I’ll be honest – FEAR, about how I was going to balance it all after the baby came.  I really had no idea how I was going to handle a new baby plus two young children plus my business, plus my teaching, plus all my responsibilities at home, plus my position on the board of the preschool (handling a major renovation project), plus making the time for my running and whatever else I wasn’t thinking of.  I was EXCITED beyond words —  but I was also totally freaked out.

Amidst all of the anxiety about the unknown though, there was a very strong sense of peace inside of me.  A confidence and a love that was steadfast and strong.  I would take it one step at a time, one day at a time.  In my heart, I just knew it would all be okay.

What I didn’t know was that it would be THIS GREAT.

I could not have imagined him.

As I ran today, I smiled (I’m pretty sure the entire way).  Gratitude washed over me.  It has been an amazing year.  It has not been easy.  But it has been worth every sleepless night.  Worth every moment of chaos and confusion.  Every instance when I felt like giving up or giving in – but didn’t.  Every step I have taken.

I have some anxiety and some fear about the race I am training for and the goal I am going after.  My running is in a place that I have never been to before.  Running 48 miles as a recovery week is insane to me.  That’s a lot of miles!  Running an 8:27/mile average pace for a 14 mile long run is insane to me.  That’s really fast!  But it is where I am and where I am meant to be.  I need to trust in that and go with it.  I need to listen to my heart, to that voice inside of me that assures me that I am strong enough for this.

My splits from today’s long run ~
Mile 1 – 8:50
Mile 2 – 8:54
Mile 3 – 8:57
Mile 4 – 8:29
Mile 5 – 8:21
Mile 6 – 8:16
Mile 7 – 8:30
Mile 8 – 8:11
Mile 9 – 8:32
Mile 10 – 8:27
Mile 11 – 8:24
Mile 12 – 8:03
Mile 13 – 8:13
Mile 14 – 8:06

It is all going to be okay.  Maybe even more than okay.  Maybe GREAT.

14 thoughts on “perspective

  1. When I was close to my first marathon one of my running gurus asked me how many half marathons I ran in my training. I started counting my actual races and he corrected me – no, how many times did you run the equivalent of a half marathon? Pretty much at least once every week for over 3 months … what a wonderful perspective!

  2. Jess – this is so beautiful. I agree with you!! It's amazing how perspective changes in such a small amount of time! You wonder how you will ever run the miles you set out to do! Congrats on the 55 and the “easy” week and long run!! =) And it's definitely more than okay – it's great =) =) xoxo

  3. When I was doing my long run for the week yesterday I thought of you Jess! My goal was to keep my paces below 9:00 and I did it. Last year at this time I probably would have ben closer to 9:30. You are right about perspective. Sometimes it is just good to take a step back and look at everything and see how far you have come.
    I am also chuckling about baby Gus being late. My first 3 kiddos were early or on their due date. Izzie my last sweetie….a week late:) How does that happen? xoxoxo!

  4. Had my “long” yesterday too – just 3.5 – but you are so so right. All about perspective and all about the journey!!!!!

  5. You lost me at “anxiety and fear.” You don't need to have any of that, Jess! Your training is going so well, and whatever your goal is, it's there for the taking. Keep on keepin' on!

    Gus is too cute!!!

  6. How exciting to see how far you've come! This post is especially encouraging as we think about adding to our family and all the unknowns of balancing two kids, let alone 3! So thankful for the reminder that it can be done, and to see you so full of gratitude a year later. I needed to read that. 🙂

    And awesome job on your training! I'm very similar to you– my highest mileage was low 40's in marathon training, and haven't gone over that this year, but I do find my long run paces are coming much easier. Excited to see where this will take you!

  7. Wow, your an awesome mom!! I have one little one and have a hard time running 15-20 miles a week, can't imagine having 3 and running 55! Amazing pace with negative splits!!

  8. I couldn't agree more with this post. Never thought I'd see the day when running 3 miles was a “short run” and double digit runs were “long runs”.

    Great job on an amazing week hitting 55 miles!

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