When I began running again this month to train for the Capital City half marathon with Friends of Mia, I was two months behind in my training.  I started in March after recovering from a stress fracture in my foot.  I knew it would be a bit of an uphill climb, and in many ways it has been.  As I began my training schedule running three times a week, my work schedule simultaneously (of course!) became more demanding.  One of the biggest challenges has been fitting it all in.  Until today.

Last Sunday, I ran six miles for the first time since September (the stress fracture was misdiagnosed as tendonitis and I ran a 10k after being cleared from PT).  Those six miles were a stretch for me but I made it.  This week's training schedule called for nine miles.  I had never run nine miles.  I made it to eight last year and that was the longest distance I had ever done.  My short runs during the week had been somewhat difficult as I have been cramming them in between sessions.  So nine miles sounded pretty challenging.  As a personal trainer, I know that pushing too hard can have a rebound effect and send you backwards instead of forwards.  After having suffered through the stress fracture, I was uncertain whether nine would be a good idea.  But with the race just six weeks away I knew I had to at least make a good attempt.

I didn't sleep all that well last night so when I got up this morning, the excuses started running through my head.  Plus I was tired after a workout yesterday and several hours of mixing 400 pounds of cement for fence posts.  But I knew I had to run.  My team trains on Saturdays and since I work Saturdays I miss the practices and have to find the motivation to run.  So it was just me and my head, and my head was trying to find ways to convince me to just bag it and enjoy the morning.

I got my running gear on.  I stretched and stretched and stretched, making sure I hit every important muscle.  I drank some coconut water.  Finally, I was ready to go.  I headed down our long driveway to the street.  The weather was nice so I ditched my running jacket in the bushes.  Then I stretched some more, took a long look down the street, and started my run.

My legs felt heavy.  I was having a hard time getting my breath to synch.  It was a bit of a tough start.  I started paying attention to the music from my iPod to distract me.  I knew that I could ditch the nine miles and just do six if I needed to and get the run over with.  A woman I see year after year running was just ahead of me so I focused on trying to catch up with her.  I made it to the three-mile turnaround . . . and kept going.  I started thinking about how difficult it must be to be a kid with cancer and wake up and go to sleep every day battling that disease.  I started thinking about my brother Marc, who was just 7 when my sister died of cancer and how tough and confusing that must have been for him.  I also started thinking about my brother Mike, who was not quite a year old when my sister died, and my little sister Marilee who came along after me.  At that point, I decided to dedicate my run this morning to my siblings.

Mile six came up.  I felt pretty good.  I had a great shuffle going on my iPod.  As I started mile seven, I was nervous that my body was going to start giving out.  But that was just my head talking.  I actually felt pretty good.  Then "Stronger" started to play - I love running to that song!!  Mile seven came and went.  Mile eight was pretty great.  And then came mile nine and to my surprise, I was running faster than I had been the previous three miles!! 

As my run came to an end, I felt pretty peaceful.  I can see why people run long distances.  It actually feels pretty darn good.  I know finding the right inspiration helps - for me today, dedicating my run to my family really helped me find the inner strength to allow myself to see what I could do.  I'm so glad I did. 

Friends of Mia is a local non-profit organization raising funds for research and supporting kids and their families fighting cancer.  If you would like to donate, please go to my fundraising page by clicking HERE