Here I go again. I don’t like repeating this training pattern but it seems to just find me. I begin each training season with vigor and enthusiasm and lately (like in the last five years) I get injured, life happens and I don’t complete my training schedule as well as I set out to do.
That time has come yet again and believe me when I tell you that I have been downright discouraged. My next marathon will be my 7th and maybe my hardest. I mean I once trained for a half and ended up running a full but it was in my city with 1000 teammates running along side me and many more cheering from the sidelines. That can make anyone move. I ran two marathons in two months once and was injured for both. After the first I decided to take the two months completely off to ‘heal’ before running the second in Disney. This one again, was along side some great teammates and it wasn’t my slowest. I’m not writing this to brag or anything. It definitely is not the results I’ve wanted but who says what a marathon should look like anyway? I know that when I run I feel more vibrant. I know many people who run to bring clean water to Kenya and that can motivate the walker or runner, young and old. I have found that each marathon experience helps you alter, change or repeat what went great or was detrimental to your race. Usually that means what I should do the week leading up to my race and what food will work best for my performance. That isn’t in my game plan right now. I just have to find a way to finish this thing.
Someone once told me they would take up running when they see a runner who smiles. Well that is what I do when I run. I do love the sport and it creates a high like no other. Runners greet one another along a trail and we encourage each other since we know we each run for a purpose. There’s a story behind every race. What brought you there? What motivates you? What keeps you going when everything hurts?
My husband and I have planned to run a few international marathons and the Berlin marathon is next up. I’ve basically suffered an inflamed toe, that caused me to change my gait to resist the pain and as a result I got bursitis in the opposite knee. I rested, and got discouraged when even walking hurt. I’ve since got cortisone shots and anti inflammatories in my system that was just to get me through 14 days in Kenya and I’m happy to say I feel great! God is faithful! I have three weeks to train at home and mentally prepare myself to just finish. I guess in hindsight, planning this trip to Kenya wasn’t the best idea due to the timing of the trip but as I’m flying home and looking at my pictures I’m feeling quite the contrary. In the last two weeks I have felt many emotions but one I have experienced before is purpose. I ran on rough, rocky, hilly and dusty roads in Kenya and although the miles were few the very act of getting up early and running alone has propelled my spirit to answer the ever popular question, why? And so I will tell you why.
I run with the purpose to bring clean water to the Pokot region in Kenya. Why? They’re well being starts with water. I have met these beautiful people and will forever have their wonderful smiles and exuberant spirits in my heart. One day I was running a mile long road completely uphill. I stopped to walk from time to time (I will blame the crazy elevation). I was turning around to repeat my mile long trek uphill when I had to walk and noticed a lady walking in the opposite direction. As I passed her she calmly says to me, ‘pick it up’. I smiled and instantly began to run again. As I came down the hill I ran along side her and stopped. I told her I run in America to bring clean water to her fellow Kenyans. She smiled and thanked me. She told me her name was Anne. That interaction just validates why I need to complete this marathon. First of all, I told Anne I would but I also told many children I met at a few orphanages. Everywhere I turned I would see girls young and old carry water on their heads to their homes. Tears would well up in my eyes when I would pass dried up water beds and there were many. Or worse, the sight of watching children draw water for their families in dirty, contaminated waterbeds.
Another great moment I experienced was when we pulled off to the side of the road to witness a brand new water well that was completed and celebrated just two weeks prior. We got out and spoke to the few women who were drawing water together. This well is closer to their village and providing healing to everyone who is able to use it. I pumped the water, which was not my first time, but it still gives me chills. Our leader then told me that this well went in because of the money raised from our annual 5k. My family ran this race this past June. I felt proud and humble at the same time.
I recently heard that the limitations we feel while moving our bodies are in our heads and we can push past them. Luckily, I also believe in the power of prayer and so when I am weak He is strong. Our running community should celebrate their ups and downs, their successes and injuries and as our race season approaches you better believe I will be repeating my new mantra ‘pick it up!’