I accomplish so much more when I have support from loved ones, friends and my community. As I reflect on all of my accomplishments in life, I have noticed a common factor – I had at least one person backing me up, supporting me, and pushing me.
Since I had to go MIA for the past ten weeks to allow my body to prepare for its “gestational marathon”, let me begin by telling you the pregnancy story so far. About four weeks after completing the Phoenix Half on March 1st, during which time I was also going through lymphedema therapy and wrapping my leg, I started to feel that something was a little off for me, mostly just feeling out of shape and tired. Suspecting that I was pregnant, I took three pregnancy tests but all were negative. I became a little frustrated because I couldn’t think of another explanation for how I was feeling. I decided to take a fourth test the following week which confirmed that I was in fact pregnant. I was surprised, ecstatic and relieved to find that there was a good reason for the fatigue.
As many of you know from my Facebook post the night before the race, I was pretty anxious about running the half marathon. It seemed the more that people asked about it the worse my anxiety became and I couldn’t shake the fear that I felt – fear of exhaustion, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and fear of weakness. I was worried about everyone who would be watching me. I wanted to live up to others’ expectations that I perceived they had of me. I wanted to prove that I was capable of great things, but I couldn’t help but feel that I was going to let people down.
Jordan and I went to dinner the night before the race and I explained to him why I was feeling so overwhelmed and scared. After I finished talking, he asked me, “Why do you feel like you have to live up to other people’s expectations of you, perceived or not? This experience is for you.” He asked me to think about the last year I’ve spent learning to run and training for my races. I began to think about how far I had come, and truly I felt emotional remembering how my life had changed, not just a year ago when I started running, but also 13 years ago when I was diagnosed, ten years ago when I lost my mother, six years ago when I decided to take control of my own life, four years ago when I married Jordan, and two years ago when I had Chloe. Jordan made me think about all the hard work I had put into running which extended to me remembering how much pain and heartache I had put into coming back into life after my diagnosis and losing my mother. I decided to focus on that good feeling and just get myself ready for the race the next morning. Little did I know that there was more refining of the soul that I would have to do the next day.
I feel like my running pace has significantly improved since I took that running break in December. My pace has hovered between a 9:15 and 9:30 min/mile for most of my runs including a double-digit long run. Diligence in training is starting to pay off.
One run I’m especially proud of and would like to talk about happened a couple of weeks ago. It was a six-mile speed workout that I started around dusk and I was a little worried about having to run it in the dark. By mile 2 the sun had completely set and I was debating on whether or not to cut my run short because I hate running in the dark. Then at mile 3, I saw a light up the road coming towards me. Jordan had put Chloe in the baby seat on the bike and came to find me so that I wouldn’t have to run alone in the dark. (Have I mentioned how awesome this guy is at supporting me?) For the next three miles he rode behind me with the light shining ahead of me.