It’s Not Always Pretty

Lately, I’ve been kicking butt at running a lot of miles. They’re not always fast, but I’m spending a lot of time putting one foot in front of the other. In January, I racked up 154 miles, which is definitely more miles than I generally put down during the most miserable month of the year.

Blue sky, but the air hurt my face. Bbrrrrrrr.

I’m staying motivated to get out there because my sister and I put a goal on the calendar in March that is a little bit scary. We are going to be running a full (26.2 mile) marathon in Alabama on a Saturday, then driving to Mississippi and running another full marathon there on Sunday. Two marathons. Two days. Two states. Yikes. It’s a bit terrifying, which is what makes it a bit easier for me to stick to my training plan.

That is always what works best for me. I set a goal so big that it scares me enough to get out the door, because I know I probably won’t reach the goal unless I put in the effort to get there.

So I work REALLY hard. And then, what’s been happening the last couple of years is that all of that really hard work makes my body freak out. And suddenly, all of that motivation to get out the door is interrupted by my body telling me I need to take it easy for a hot second.

That’s where I’m at.

Last weekend, I went out on Saturday morning for a 16 mile run. (I’ve been doing long runs on Saturdays and Sundays to try and adequately prepare for these back to back marathons.) I decided to try something new for fueling, and it didn’t sit well with me. Starting around mile 11, I was doing the butt clench, shuffle/run for about 1.5 miles until I made it to a bathroom. After that, I had stomach cramps and felt awful for the rest of my run. That day I was left feeling completely exhausted and dealing with Ischemic colitis. To put it bluntly I had diarrhea and blood in my poo all day long. Not fun. (Sorry….TMI, I know….)

Sunday morning I hit the road at 7:45 AM to meet upĀ  with a friend for an 8 mile run before church. I wasn’t feeling great, but this is a problem I’ve had in the past and normally it comes and goes. Well, apparently it didn’t “go” this time and by mile 4 I was off the road, behind a tree, squatting in the snow to find not poop, but just straight up blood. That stressed me out a bit, but being 4 miles from home, there wasn’t much I could do but turn around and run home. So, that’s what I did. And I felt awful.

By the time I got home, I was in the midst of another bathroom emergency and ran through the house to make it just in time. My stomach and bottom hurt so bad that I was on the toilet, taking deep breathes, trying unsuccessfully to hold it together, and crying tears of pain and frustration while beckoning my husband to bring me some Pepto. It wasn’t pretty.

I made it to church, but had to come home afterwards and take a long nap, and still felt miserable the rest of the day.

All of last week I took it really easy on my runs and still dealt with blood clots after every run until Saturday. Not cool.

I don’t tell you all of this for you to feel sorry for me. I tell you all of this so that you know it’s not easy. I love to post pictures like these:

Proud of my early morning run.
Beautiful snowy run.

Because I think they inspire people to get up and move. But, sometimes, I know that these pictures don’t portray the reality.

The reality is that any dream worth chasing is going to be hard. It’s going to have its ups and downs, and probably more downs than ups. It’s going to hurt. And it’s going to leave you questioning why in the world you’re doing what you’re doing. But, it’s going to be worth it.

So, fight through the pain, and keep chasing those dreams.