At the beginning of this year I resolved to rise out of a funk I had been submerged in. I made a vow that I would jump out my wintery seasonal slump and jump into the “Hoorah!” lifestyle that I (and those around me) prefer. Exercise here, exercise there, exercise, exercise everywhere. Yada, yada, yada. For a while I was busting out power jumps like a gymnast executes back-flips and spending more time on the treadmill than I had in months. Life was feeling pretty good until the kids got sick, I got sick, and then some unforeseen events popped up which threw us all off track and before I knew it I was spiraling swiftly back into the funk that I had worked so hard to climb out of. Exercise is GREAT and all, but it’s hard when you get sick or injured or aren’t getting more than a few hours of interrupted sleep a night. It becomes even harder when you set goals for yourself, see that they are within your reach, and then fall flat on your face before you have a chance to achieve them.
We runners are a selfish breed, are we not? So much time spent thinking about ourselves – our mileage, pace, our breathing, our aches and pains, our body – oh our body … Me, myself, and I…
Being a mostly stay at home mom of 4 (I work part-time, but it’s from HOME), I already spend enough time inside of my own head. Running used to help me veer away from those thoughts, especially when I was running with buddies, but lately, it’s been leading me deeper into them. I decided I needed a tangible goal – something physical and hard so that I could focus on pushing my body and numbing my thoughts. I set a 5k goal for a PR and was hoping to set it this month. It was a great goal because it allowed me to push myself hard, but at a short enough distance so that it didn’t take too much time away from the sick kiddos and husband who has been working long hours.
Then, I got the stomach bug and it took me d-o-w-n. Down down. Boom. Months of training torn up and thrown into the air like pieces of paper in the wind. My pace slowed by over a minute a mile. Unfortunately I’m that kind of runner that has to stay on top of my training or I lose fitness fast. A few days of missed workouts – not ideal, but ok. Over a week lost, with a week’s worth of electrolytes gone too = detrimental.
I began singing the “Woe is me” tune – you know, the one about how I can never set my sights on anything because it’ll all just get screwed up anyway – and fell deeper into the funk.
Then, last week, I got a phone call. My former running buddy and race partner, Bridget, called with a request.
“What are you doing on October 27th? Want to run the Marine Corps Marathon with me?”
Bridget and her husband are officers in the Marine Corps. They are training not only to run the 26.2 miles, but to push a disabled child while doing so. They are part of an incredible organization called “Ainsley’s Angels” which is made up of athletes who train to push disabled children, adults and veterans in endurance events. I’ve always applauded Bridget for her devotion to such a great cause, but now, she is asking me to step up, to run for someone other than myself.
I thought out loud of a million reasons why I shouldn’t, why I can’t run a marathon this fall.
And then I said yes.
“YES! I’ll do it!”
And then I roped my husband into it.
And now we are training for a marathon. The MARINE CORPS MARATHON.
Which we will run this OCTOBER.
While pushing a child that will never be able to use his/her own legs to complete the event.
If there’s a better way to use this sport to get out of my own head, I can’t think of one.
Click HERE to read more about “Ainsley’s Angels” and what it’s all about. If you feel inspired to donate to the cause, even just a dollar or two, please do so!