I'm 4 weeks from running the Monumental Half Marathon and, to be honest, I'm nervous as all get out. Gah! 13.1 just seems like a lot of consecutive miles, am I right? My 20 year old self would have laughed and run it confidently, but eleven years and two babies later have me a little anxious about it all.
But let's back up and talk about the training process. Despite my nervousness about the actual race, I have loved these weeks of training. Loved them! And for a host of different reasons. Re-establishing a morning workout routine, falling back in love with running, having a tangible (and big!) goal to daily work towards, and pushing myself- all have been fun/hard/worth it.
Setting a big goal and actually working towards it has been one of the best parts. Daunting, for sure. Setting out to run 13.1 miles and raise $2k for World Vision aren't small things. Will I be able to run then entire time? Will people actually donate money? But its the smaller, broken down milestones during training that are encouraging. 13 miles? No way. But 5? I can do that! Heck, I ran 8 last week and didn't die. $2000 is so much money! But slowly, donations have come in! That feels amazing! So much of my life right now consists of immeasurable and not-concrete work. Taking care of babies, loving my husband, tending to relationships. Amazing things, but not the kind that you can track progress easily. I've been reading Nehemiah this week and the theme I keep hearing from his story is 'pray and put in the work.' Again and again, Nehemiah talks with God about rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem and then, he does the hard work. Every day. Not one without the other- they're always together. Prayer and action. The training process has made that lesson real for me. I have covered my runs, fundraising, and the actual race in prayer, and I've also put in the work and miles.
The second biggest takeaways I have from training is that I (or God in me!) can do hard things and its ok to give myself grace. I have a tendency to take myself out of things because they're too hard or I assume I could never do it (whatever 'it' may be). That has always seemed logical to me, to simply sit out of things I'm not qualified for. I have probably missed out on a hundred amazing things because I bought into that lie! I'm so glad I stopped wanting to be a runner again and simply became one, one mile at a time.
Also, grace. Grace upon grace upon grace. I push myself, but I also don't beat myself up. Done is better than perfect. I don't want the fastest mile or to keeping running when I know I should walk for a minute. A finished race is a race ran well! A missed training day for a toddler who woke up too early is ok. Even if I fall short of my actual fundraising goal, friends and family have already donated enough to provide clean water for TEN PEOPLE! It's the grace along with way, coupled with not quitting, that will (hopefully!) add up to a finished race on November 4th!
I might change my mind by November, but right now I want to keep running. Maybe I'll find something else to train for? I'm not sure, but I love that I'm back in a groove enough to want to keep going!