time to start believing

The other morning I set out very early with the Honey Badgers for our first long run of the taper – 16 miles.  We left when it was still dark out, before the world was waking up.  The temperature was near freezing – I had not felt that type of chilled-to-the-bone feeling in many, many months.  We ran the first 8 miles together, holding a strong pace yet talking and telling stories and just being grateful to have one another to share the trail with.  My sister Jodi came with us on her bike and as she pedaled behind us she joined in the conversations … and the miles just ticked by.  I had no idea how fast or how slow we were running – it was so dark and I was feeling good and I didn’t want to worry about my pace.  It felt good and easy and my heart was happy.  Towards the turnaround point the sun came up and started to warm my skin – my fingers and feet finally began to thaw and there was a warmth that radiated from deep within me.  We reached the halfway point and the plan was to turn up the jets from there – I wanted to test out my legs and see what my goal race pace would feel like for the second half of the run.

~ Chris, Maddie & Me ~

Miles 1-8:
8:09, 7:59, 7:54, 8:04, 7:55, 8:00, 7:41, 7:55

Last week I started thinking about my goal for Marine Corps Marathon.  I started realizing that my original dream of running a 3:20 was actually going to be selling myself short this time around – as hard as that was for me to believe at first it is simply now a FACT that I have come to terms with and am grateful for.  I am capable of faster.  I am stronger than that right now – it scares me – but it is awesome.  So I started thinking.  I looked at my training in my Believe I Am journal and at my Garmin stats – I told myself to dream bigger.  I remembered all the workouts, all the dedication and heart and hard work, all the bad days and tough runs that I overcame, all the amazing feelings I have had, all the self-doubt I have surmounted – this training cycle has been incredible.  I have done the work to get myself here.  Maybe a 3:15.  This would be a 7:15 pace.  I made a deal with myself that if I could run close to a 7:15 pace for the last 8 miles of my 16 mile run, I would attempt a 3:15 marathon on race day.  If I could do that then, I would allow myself to believe I could do it on race day.

I started running faster for mile 9.  Picking up my pace and easing into a groove.  My feet were beneath me like wheels and I wanted to keep them there, but let my heart lead the way.  Listen to my footsteps.  Be aware of all that was around me and within me.  Not fight anything.  Just go.  Just do what I love.  Just feel happy and enjoy it and see where I am at and be grateful to be there.

Occasionally I looked at my watch and freaked out a little bit.  I was running much faster than a 7:15 at times.  And I felt so good.  So strong.  So grateful.  So in my element.  So present.  So capable.  And yes, SO HAPPY.

Miles 9-16:
7:29, 7:10, 7:02, 6:49, 7:02, 7:05, 7:43, 7:32

The last two miles were both hilly and I knew that I would slow down unless I increased the effort.  But I didn’t want to increase the effort, I wanted to keep my effort steady and even.  It wasn’t about pushing my pace – I knew I could do if I asked my body to.  This run was about holding my effort steady and letting this just happen.  Feeling good.  Letting myself feel strong.  Letting myself feel that if I had to, I could run another 10 miles and pick up my pace and my effort when it was necessary to do so.  I wanted to listen to my body and be REAL with myself about how hard this was.  And it just wasn’t so terribly hard.  I felt exactly how I wanted to feel.

I finished 16.25 miles with an average pace of 7:35.  When the run was over I did not feel spent or drained or wiped out.  I felt filled up.  Filled up with hope and joy and gratitude.  Filled up with courage and confidence.  Filled up with happiness.

I believe that I can run a 3:15 marathon on October 28th.  It is time now to start believing that I WILL.

11 thoughts on “time to start believing

  1. I think you are going to crush that 3:15, too…you are going to ROCK this marathon, I wouldn't be surprised of you see a 3:10 at the finish – you've worked hard!! Can't wait to hear all about it. Enjoy your taper:)

  2. i did my first marathon last weekend in hartford ct and two nights before i read that you should picture in your mind the time on the clock when you want to finish. and then think about that time and really believe that what that clock says is your finishing time… and it WORKED! I mean I never though I could really do a sub 4 hour marathon. But I decided I wanted to try and I pictured that 3:59 and i GOT EXACTLY that!! Picture that clock at 3:15!!

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