When I first started my running journey it was a way of releasing stress and tension from uncontrollable life events. I would ‘run out’ anger, fear, discontent; any emotion that my brain was unable to process, I’d turn into physical pain, releasing it through my legs and into the pavement. I would run hard, then quickly lose steam and fall into a run/walk slog until I finished however many miles I needed to get done. I ran myself into crippling injuries and never thought twice about it.
Since then I have done my best to change my overall attitude towards running. While I still use it as my decompression time, I try to not let my day influence the overall run. Over the summer, life got the best of me and I reverted back to anger filled running, resulting in multiple full out mid-run mental breakdowns. In July, I totaled 5 miles for the entire month, when before my averages had been between 70-100. This was were I found running’s rock bottom. Only place to go from there was up, right?
After the semi-Dopey Challenge in January, I was to take a week off and then start rebooting for the Cowtown 50k; my first ultra marathon to take place at the end of February. I entered the ultra because I had not been scared by a race in a long time, and I figured it was time to be scared again. Six days after Dopey, I ‘tripped’ (we’ll just call it a trip) on some railroad tracks while walking down the road and smashed both of my knees into the concrete. ‘Scared’ immediately turned to panic as my knee ballooned up and turned purple for weeks following the incident. I went from completely confident in my abilities after the Disney Marathon, to truly frightened about what was to come over the 31.1 mile course at Cowtown. 16 days before Cowtown I had my Ultra Marathon Meltdown. Could my legs hold up after the time off I had to take? Would my knee hold up? If the pain started, when would it start and how long would I have to deal with it because I don’t own a DNF switch? Would this be the first race I DNF? Or, worst of all, would I do so much damage that I ruin my training toward trying to BQ?
“Control what you can control” —Steven Stam
I probably say this more times to myself than I say anything else. Not only has Steven coached me so wisely in the running arena over the last few years, but he has also done an amazing job with my mental status…most days 😉
February 26th threw so many unknowns at me, it wasn’t until about 10 days before that I finally relinquished the reins of all that was out of my control and put my eggs into the Joy basket. Whatever happened, I would run with Joy. The joy of knowing I could still run; this ability is a privilege I have been graced with. The joy of seeing my parents on course, being able to share this journey with them. The joy of having someone so special in my life, who truly wants me to achieve my goals and is supportive of my endeavors. I have so much to be joyful for. For 31.1 miles, I ran with a happy heart, mind and body. What more could I ask for?