Yeah, but why?

This Saturday, Stephanie and I are running the Grand Island Trail Marathon. 26.2 miles of wilderness trails on an island off the coast of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s upper peninsula. As always the week before a big event, I’m feeling nervous, excited, and scared. There are always factors that can prevent things from going your way on race day…GI distress, bad weather (which is particularly rough when you’re running trails), injuries… Crossing the finish line will be a rewarding experience, and I can’t wait!

But, as is my normal M.O., I’m already feeling a bit sad that the end of this journey is in sight. So, last night I had my feelers out as I tried to figure out what I want to do next. It truly makes me a little uncomfortable to not be signed up and training for a race at all times. When I don’t have a plan, my training loses focus and I quickly fall off the fitness wagon.

So, after a little nudge from a friend earlier in the week, this is what my phone screen looked like last night…

I’ve been throwing around the idea of running a 50 Miler next summer. But then I started to think that my fitness is already at a pretty good level for a September 50 Miler. So, I posted this picture on Facebook last night to see if anyone had any resounding insight to sway my decision one way or the other. As expected, I got a few “Do it!” responses. But, the one that really got me thinking was from my mom. She wrote, “Yeah, but why?”

Ahhhhh…. That is the question. So, after some thought on that last night and this morning, here is part of the answer…

Because I can. Because there are thousands of people that would give anything to have that experience, but are burdened with bodies that are constantly battling pain and sickness, and I am blessed with a body that can face the challenges I put before it. 

Because every endurance challenge that I face makes me stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. Doing scary, hard, challenging things gives me confidence, faith, energy, patience, peace, tolerance, endurance, passion, strength, and so much more. 

All of my training and effort sets an example for my two boys of working hard to reach goals. That example will (hopefully) remain with them forever and carry over into their lives.

There are so many reasons why. I guess for me, the question really is, “Why not?”


Mile a Day Update: Time to Fess Up

Remember how Stephanie and I had that super motivating challenge going? We each had to run 1 mile a day until our trail marathon on July 26 and it was supposed to help both of us get on track. Well, it lasted a total of 5 days. FIVE DAYS! I’m not going to point fingers or name names about who lost, but I’ll tell you one thing, it wasn’t me πŸ™‚

So, LeighAnn decided that she wanted to join the challenge, not knowing that it was over (because, let’s be honest, that’s embarrassing and we weren’t going around bragging about it!). Since I was a little disappointed that it had ended so abruptly, I accepted the knew challenge and have been on a 1 mile running streak for quite a while. And I’m here to tell you, it’s been hard. Really hard.

Every run has had its challenges. Probably what’s been hardest for me is that I have had to run by myself way too much and have hardly done any trail runs in the last month. UGH! It’s been mentally and physically challenging. My body doesn’t love the pavement, but sometimes the convenience of it wins out.

Here’s a pic from my run last night. I REALLY didn’t want to run, but luckily this girl did!

Photo: I was SUPER close to quitting my 1 mile a day challenge today. But I didn't!!! Blu kept me company on an evening run 󾌡

On a particularly difficult run last week, I realized that I really need to get back into the habit of booking more runs with friends. I honestly felt like I was starting to lose it! Here’s a snapshot of the thoughts that were running through my head:

Holy cow. This wind is horrible. I’m never going to make it around this loop.

OH! Watch out! There’s ice! 
Oh wait. Nope. It’s July. That’s water from the rain earlier.

Do you hear that!?! That sounds like cow bells! I think someone is cheering for me! 
Oh wait. Nope. That’s all of the sails being whipped around on the sail boats in the marina. It’s way too windy out here. But wouldn’t it be nice if it was cow bells? I’m just going to pretend that it’s cow bells and people are cheering for me. Actually, I’m going to pretend that I’m running to the finish line at Ironman Louisville! Listen to all those cow bells! It was so nice of my family to come and cheer for me. I love my family.

It’s so windy. This is so hard.

Oh! Watch out! More ice!
Oh. Nope. Still July.

Ya, I definitely need to run some more miles with friends! Luckily, I have my alarm set for 6:00 am to head out for my last LONG training run for the marathon! 18 trail miles with Stephanie in the morning! And yes, I did mean to include those explanation marks. I’m pretty excited to have more than just my own crazy thoughts to keep me entertained tomorrow.