Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Determination

Fall marathon season is slowly winding down. One of my favorite times of the year, I've been reading a lot of marathon recaps. It never gets old. I find a lot of inspiration from my fellow bloggers. Sure, some runners make it look easy. Wouldn't that be nice? Most of us know that running a marathon isn't easy.

There's something special about crossing that finish line. All those miles training and it comes down to one day. Your training may have gone perfectly and suddenly, you have hip pain. Or you have tummy issues and need to make multiple portapotty stops. Maybe it's the weather. No matter what the circumstances, the marathon is where you are forced to dig deep and drive to the finish line.

Skipping the race? Nope.

Quitting? Not an option.

Taking the Long Way Home


Have you ever run a marathon? Have you ever spectated a marathon?

For marathon participants, there's only one goal: the finish line. But a lot can happen in 26.2 miles. Actually, a lot can happen before the runners even line up for the race.

I'm reading this month's book club selection: Jason Karp's The Inner Runner. Last night I read his thoughts about injury and having to take time off running. He ponders how runners hate taking time off for injury, and how so many runners push through injuries, determined to finish no matter what. What drives us to do that? As he says: Running empowers us and strengthens us to do things that we wouldn't or couldn't otherwise do."

Most recently, my friend Marcia ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I followed her training. She struggled with motivation during her training but made it to the start line. Her race recap showed how determined she was not to quit. Portapotties? There weren't enough. Corrals? No one paid attention. Yet she kept pushing forward.

My friend Holly, who ran Chicago in October, fell at mile 12. She got herself to the aid station and got patched up. She didn't like the way she was bandaged and made the medical personnel rebandage her legs. When we saw her at mile 13, all she could do was laugh. And finish.

Amanda posted 2 recaps of her recent MCM. The good came first. But the bad was bad. Her first marathon was not the experience she dreamed of. A crowded course and rude participants made this a tough race for her. But she persevered.

Kim just ran NYCM. While she hasn't posted her race recap yet, she hinted on her most recent blog post that she didn't run the race she planned. But she finished!

I can't help but include my Big Sur experience. When my PF became so bad that I couldn't walk, much less run, I was determined to line up for this bucket list dream race no matter what. My training wasn't optimal, but not only did I get to the start line, but I ran a pain-free, albeit slow 26.2. DNS? DNF? Not happening.

Actually, only one of my four marathons went without a hitch. That race, my second Chicago marathon, was the one where everything fell into place. I'm glad I had that race. But the Chicago marathon I ran the following year was the one that brought me the most pride. That was the race where the wheels tried to come off the bus at mile 14. Plagued by a migraine and nausea, I dug deep, gave up my goal of a BQ, and made up my mind that I was going to finish proud. Which I did. That determination got me to the finish.

I'm training for a half marathon in 3 weeks. I'm struggling with my endurance, and looking back, this has been an issue for me for a while. I could give up on long distances. I could blame it on my age. I could blame it on menopause. I could blame it on my IBS. I might become a meme. I could quit. I'm not there yet. I love to run.

I'm looking at my training, trying to find something to make it happen for me. I've got some ideas about what I need to do (slow down, maybe?) to get me to go the distance. As always, long distance running is a work in progress. I'll share my successes as well as my failures. We learn from each other.

For now, I am determined to fight the good fight, to run the races I still know I have in me. Keep posting your recaps. The good, the bad, the ugly--you inspire me. Running, we're all in it together.

Taking the Long Way Home


What inspires you to push harder? How determined are you to push yourself? 

Today's Wednesday Word is determination. Check out all the other posts at DebRuns!

I'm also linking up with Debbie, Lora, Susie, and Rachel at Coaches' Corner!








52 comments :

  1. totally love this!!!!! Like you, I get inspired by people who struggle (or at least admit to struggling). The easy races (and training runs) are great, but there is absolutely nothing to learn from them.

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    1. It really is the hard races and runs that teach us the most!

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  2. While I haven't been running anywhere near as long as you, it's long enough now that PRs are certainly harder to come by. I know that it takes a LOT of thing aligning for the perfect (or at least good) race.

    And I haven't had a half where everything came together for years. Which isn't to say I haven't had a few PRs or good races, quite the contrary, but part of what keeps me running is knowing, deep down, that there is definitely a better half in me.

    Pretty sure that won't be FL. :) But I'll keep running them as long as I can!

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    1. Oh, I'm pretty sure PCB won't be that race for me either. It's going to be all about fun.

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  3. It is all about the struggle and overcoming it! Good luck with the rest of your half training! Hope your feet hold up!

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    1. You and me both! Feet, are you listening?

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  4. You are one of the most determined people I think of and I love how you are always able to pull it out and crush it. hope those feet hold up for you!

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    1. Right now it's my tummy that's making me nervous! It's always something...

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  5. Thanks for the shout out Wendy :) I'm working on my recap today. It's hard when you don't hit a time goal, but it makes me more determined to run another marathon and crush it. I just entered the lottery for Chicago :)

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    1. I learned from my 3rd Chicago marathon that it's important to have a backup goal to the main goal. Running 26.2 is a huge commitment and there is nothing worse than finishing the race disappointed. I did that with #1 and learned my lesson. If nothing else, have fun!

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  6. I really need to write my recaps for my 2014 and 2015 Chicago Marathons. February of 2014, 7 inch transverse incision on my lower abdomen...literally no training but pushed myself to power walk and finish in official time. The marathon foto pics are hilarious. I looked absolutely miserable! Forward to 2015, good intentions of training but once again, life got in the way. My mom was very sick and I bailed and did not train at all (plus a 20-25 weight gain after the 2014 surgery). I headed down to the city the night before the marathon so I can watch my son race the next day. We went to the expo and picked up our packets and I thought, hell, I'm here--why not. So once again, with no training and dragging the big caboose called my ass, I powered through...probably more miserably than the previous year, but I made it in official time. Not my best "races", of course, but I am so happy and proud to say that with determination, I finished!

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    1. Why don't you? I wrote a recap of my first Chicago Marathon, which happened before I started blogging. It felt good to put it into words.

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  7. I think one of the many lessons I learned from running is to be flexible and come at your goals from different angles. Sometimes weather, GI issues, injury, etc throw kinks in the way a race SHOULD go. But those obstacles are character builders. In the last hour or so of Indy, sure I was tired but dammit nothing was going to shake my resolve to finish. As you well know a sense of humor always helps too. ;)

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    1. 100% agree about flexibility. I learned a lot about that! Plus I've never had a DNF. I'm not a quitter.

      Of course, sometimes all you can do is laugh...

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  8. So much DOES happen in 26.2 miles. It is so rare we get the perfect race! It's how we face the challenges of the day that matters most. As you well know, sheer determination is sometimes the only thing that gets us across those finish lines.

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  9. I get so nervous thinking about all what could happens right now...it just tears me up. I am determined to meet the challenges as they come, I keep repeating that to myself over and over, but I sure hope i have an uneventful race so I don't feel i need a do over!

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    1. All you can do is reassure yourself that you've done the work and you are as ready as you can be. As my friend and Ironman Sandy once told me, you just have to go with what the day gives you.

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  10. Love everything about this Wendy! It was following your Big Sur Marathon that inspired me to rehab by PF and run another marathon- thank you!

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    1. It wasn't optimal training but it was enough. And of course, experience with the distance helped too!

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  11. You are amazing! Don't ever give up! We need more badass women like you out here!

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  12. I just said this to Kim, but you are one BA, determined Mother Runner, and it is an honor to know you!
    I often look forward to the struggle, a little. It is what makes me fight. I don't like it when things come too easily.

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    1. Isn't that a funny thing? If it's too easy, then I think I didn't push myself enough, that I could have done better!

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  13. It definitely takes determination to run through injuries. I loved following your training through PF and still getting to the starting line of Big Sur.

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Some injuries, you can't run through. But PF? You just have to work around it...

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  14. I love reading race recaps and all the different experiences runners have at their races, whether it is good or bad. But regardless how it goes, crossing the finish line is an accomplisment!

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    1. I'm with you. Race recaps are probably some of my favorite posts to read. I learn so much!

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  15. It really is amazing how determined we can be when it comes to running. Its hard to explain to non-runners why we won't give up once we set our mind to something!

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    1. Determination sure is a unique trait for runners!

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  16. Ah... determination... perseverance... that's what I keep telling myself today... not in regards to running:(

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    1. I wrote this last night while watching the election returns. I had trouble focusing. I considered veering from the course I had set out for myself. But you know what? He can't take running away from us. I hope.

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  17. I really love that quote at the end of your post! I'm excited for your half marathon in 3 weeks. I wish I had a race coming up, because this post gave me the racing bug!

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    1. I'm cautiously excited--of course, a trip to Florida in December is awesome. But I don't do well in the humidity--and there's that IBS....

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  18. Oh Big Sur...heaven on earth. I have been there and we hiked all over, just beautiful! More power to you and your running!

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    1. Big Sur was this runner's dream come true!

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  19. We never know what race day will bring. We may PR or our race may suck. Either way, we do our best and we cross t hat finish line..no matter what.

    See you soon!

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  20. I love reading all the recaps too- the good, the bad, and the ugly! We are all human and that is the best part! Everyone has their own journey. I would hate to quit too! I had so much fun earlier this year sitting and watching the finish line at the Celebration half- everyone who crosses has a story- priceless!

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    1. Isn't that the truth? It's fun to watch.

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  21. Agreed!!! I often think of other runner's race recaps (yours included...Big Sur!!) and get inspired while I'm out racing or running. I love our community and how we are so connected without ever having met. Keep it coming - we need all the positivity right now!!

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    1. That is the truth. What a time we are living in right now. At least we have running!

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  22. It sure as hell takes a lot of determination to get to the starting line, and even more to finish when the race doesn't go as planned. I've rarely heard of marathons that were smooth sailing all the way, but that's what makes runners sign up for another one!

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    1. I guess because we are always determined to beat ourselves!

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  23. The marathon is a humbling experience from start to finish -- training to race day. I had a horrible first marathon in CLE and a less than ideal experience at MCM (as you know) but I made the most of it at MCM and had a blast. But I secretly love the marathon. I'm not sure when that happened...

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    1. Me too! Which is why I signed up for another one. I go from excited to remorseful and back in 30 seconds.

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  24. So well said Wendy. I love it. Determination is an amazing thing. It helps us discover what we are actually capable of!!!

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    1. Makes us push ourselves to do things we never thought we could!

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  25. Yeah, in a marathon, for everything to go perfectly is rare. It should actually be somewhat expected for the race to throw a wrench or two at you. I think you will do better in your half marathon that you expect.

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    1. Funny how you can plan for "everything" and then life or your body throws something unexpected at you!

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  26. Sometimes I don't even know what is propelling me forward. Once I get moving there is no way I want to quit. I have dragged myself across finish lines and ended in the medical tent but somehow made it happen to finish. We all have that strength within in us. It's the mettle that makes us runners

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    1. That mettle translates nicely to real life!

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