“There are doors that open, allowing us peeks at the past. Brilliant reminders of what could’ve been. Every now and then our travels take us over the same stretch of road along our journey – it’s at those points, when the universe offers a second chance. It’s our responsibility to take it or let it pass by.”Jay Long
Everybody has a story… but never in a million years could I ever have predicted mine.
People who have been following my journey often tell me that I’m “an inspiration”, and that’s great – but it’s tough, too. To everybody else it seems like I’m recovering so fast and doing so well, but it’s still a daily battle that I have to fight. When you’re not on a roller coaster, it seems like a really fast ride. But when you’re IN IT, dealing with it firsthand, it’s a lot rockier than you might think. Sometimes it’s nice to be an inspiration to others, I enjoy lifting people up and helping them to believe in themselves again. But sometimes I still struggle to uplift myself. Somedays are just hard. It’s been a wild ride.
Throughout the hundreds of miles logged in order to arrive ready and able on race day, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons. I’ve come to realize that, like all personal growth journeys, it’s bit of an inside-out approach. By eliminating limitations and resistance on the inside, you can absolutely run longer distances on the outside. It’s here, in the lonely, sweat stained, tear soaked moments, where judgment transforms into acceptance, self-doubt into self-love, and running, inevitably, morphs into flying. As I have been preparing my body and my mind to run this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon, I wholeheartedly believed that it would be for the last time.
I’ve done everything I can in order to make a full recovery, and I have no regrets. Honestly? I’m not even that sad. When it comes right down to it, you control what you can control, and then you move on. It’s as simple as that.
It’s funny. I used to be obsessed with running. Now it’s just one small part that makes up the whole of who I am. There’s so much more to me and so much more to Life than running seemingly endless miles, continually reaching for that “next level” of fitness, wondering if, come race day, I’ll even be able to measure up? I used to be obsessed with running stronger, running faster, running longer… now, I am humbled and just so very grateful to be able to lace up my Asics and run at all.
So, in these months of training leading up to the Pittsburgh Marathon, I’d already said my emotional goodbye to running the marathon distance. But, as it turns out, I’m actually being given one last chance to realize my dream.
Several months ago, my Doctors submitted all of my medical documentation to the Boston Athletic Association in regards to my injuries. There was a lot of correspondence, back and forth, as they clarified the specifics of my injuries and what the impact is upon my body, most specifically, in regards to my ability to run. The B.A.A. responded with their decision to accept me into their Adaptive Program for Runners. They informed me of my new qualifying standard, should I have the ability to attempt it in Pittsburgh. Initially, it was still a bit of a stretch and, up until about a month ago, I’d pretty much counted myself out because the likelihood of obtaining that time, with these injuries, on a course as difficult as Pittsburgh’s was, realistically, slim to none.
But, since the beginning of March, my progress in training has gained some serious momentum. It seems we’ve finally determined a specific training schedule that works quite well for me – forcing my body to work heavily 3 days per week, while reserving the remaining 4 days for active rest in order for me to adequately recover. Because of this, my marathon prediction time has been significantly reduced! With just 32 days left until the marathon, ME qualifying for BOSTON is actually becoming a very real possibility.
Make no mistake, it’s still a stretch. I won’t be breaking any records or setting a new PR. And I’m very well aware of how, when you’re struggling, time can slip away from you very quickly – pushing whatever goal you may have had, far beyond your reach. But my will has a way of showing up on race day. I will be surrounded by friends and family, determined to support me, win or lose. And, for the first time ever, I have no attachment to the end result. It is what it is. It will be what it will be. And, while it may not be what it used to be, the love of the run will never be lost on me.