the mile of the moment

“Normal is what you make it. I am not in sprint mode, not focused on the finish line. I’m more in ultra mode. Not thinking about the miles ahead, only on the mile of the moment. I am pacing myself, nourishing myself, and checking in periodically to ensure I am steady as I go. I don’t want to feel better, stronger, more at peace “when…” I want to feel it now, for all the miles in between. The funny thing is that it is actually a choice. We tend to forget that, or at least I’m prone to anyway.” -Kristin Armstrong

I have read and re-read this quote many times over the last couple of weeks.  Kristin Armstrong has a way of doing this to me.  Her words oftentimes feel plucked right from my own heart.  I do not know how she does it and I can honestly say that I don’t think there is another author out there who has the same impact on me with such uncanny frequency.  I have a feeling she has this effect on a lot of people – especially women.  And especially women who are mothers.  And MOST especially women who are mothers who also have a love for and a need to run.

Lately I am slowing myself down.  Taking stock of what’s important to me.  Trying to find balance amidst all of the things that truly matter to me.  I’m finding that the only way to do this is to focus on where I’m at in each given moment.  If I look back, I get critical with the “shoulda-coulda-wouldas”, if I look too far ahead I totally miss out on the point of the moment because I’m feeling stressed and pressured by the hows and the whens and the what ifs.

The only place to truly BE is right where I am.  The only time to be there is right now.

Last week I continued to run my mileage at an easy pace as I healed from my fall on the trails two weeks ago.  I went to the track on Wednesday and decided to push myself a little.  I didn’t give it everything I had because I was afraid my body wasn’t ready for that speed – but I ran faster than I had in ten days and it felt AMAZING.  I was very aware of how my body felt and did not want to push myself too soon.  It felt SO good to move fast, to feel my heart beating stronger.  To honor and appreciate where I was at and to soak it all in.  To appreciate the fact that I was running at all.

Running is such a gift.  Such a blessing.

A healthy body is a blessing.

On Friday I went to see Dr. Wong again.  He said things are looking good and that I should not be worried.  I really don’t know what I would do without that guy.  He has helped me so much over the last couple of years.  I am so grateful to have him in my life!  My body has been talking to me lately – the back and the glute feel practically 100% better now (which is awesome!) but I have a strange pain in my foot and knee when I first put on my shoes (it goes away after around a mile or so of running and then completely disappears).  Dr. Wong says this is most likely due to changes in my stride from when my back and butt were tight and assures me it is safe to run.

the. best.

Over the weekend I was able to get in two SOLID long runs.  On Saturday I did 20 miles all at an easy comfortable pace (averaging right around 8:35).  I honestly felt like I could have just run all day that day, it was such an amazing feeling.  Oftentimes I like to do some faster pacing as part of my long runs but there is a lot of purpose to long, slow and easy distance runs.  Plus, I think that is just what my body, my mind and my spirit REALLY need right now.

This marathon training cycle has been very different from the last few marathons I have trained for.  I think it’s partially because life has just been super chaotic lately.  It’s also because the race I’m training for is my first Boston and I am approaching it from a totally different perspective than I have approached a marathon in a while.  I truly want Boston to be about the experience of being in Boston, running that marathon for the very first time.  I don’t want to stress out about or put pressure on myself to run it in a certain time.  I truly want to arrive at the Start Line feeling healthy and energetic about the experience, aware of the magic of it, able to soak it all in.  This priority has really impacted the way I’m approaching the training and my running in general.
I want to hold on to my love for this sport.  To remember why I do it and why it’s important to me that it’s an integral part of my life.  To enjoy it now and to be happy with where I am today, whether I’m in sprint mode or ultra mode or recovery mode or whatever mode my body and mind are telling me I need to be in.  I want to feel this way not just about my running, but about my life as a whole.
To love the mile – and the moment – that I’m in.

9 thoughts on “the mile of the moment

  1. Yes, yes, yes. Being in the moment, even if that moment is not what you think it “should” be, just accepting, not questioning and taking one step at time. Love your writing, I soak it up like the sun and by the way, everyone should have a Dr. Wong, I have a Dr. Phan, who is my internal medicine doctor, so a little different but just when I think I know everything about my body, he teaches more, he keeps me living my best life through preventative medicine, he's more than just a doctor, he's my body muse, sounds like Dr. Wong is yours! Enjoy the rest of your week and congrats on the Lululemon gig in Canada! incredible!

  2. I love your mentality going into Boston. When I used to swim if I put too much emphasis on my time then I lost out on enjoying the experience of swimming against Olympians. And when I focused on having fun I usually did really well too. Win win situation!

  3. What an amazing quote and so so true! It's so easy thinking about “when…” versus being in the moment. Why is that so hard?? I love how you are approaching your training for Boston – focusing on experiencing the race itself and savoring the experience. I know how hard it can be when you're injured and not 100% but keeping it in perspective by accepting that this is what your body needs now is key.

  4. We are running Boston for the exact same reason. I truly want to soak it all in and be in the moment. My finish time is not important this time around. It's all about the experience.

    Kristin Armstrong sure has a way with words. Her writing almost always resonates with me.

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