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A breakthrough

Friday, April 15, 2011

Given how hardcore I always am, it probably comes as no surprise that I have trouble crying. This morning I just had the most amazing breakthrough at the end of my 6.7mile run. Here is the story...

When I set out around 8 this morning I had a few goals in mind:
~ finish the run
~ run as far as I did the last time I ran it before taking a walk break (I took two last time)

I was confident that I could do those two so I added a final one:
~ try to beat my previous time of 1:13.16

So I set off on my run and in the first mile I was a little tired...my legs needed some warming up, but then I hit my stride and away I went. I was feeling great the first few miles...baby hills were a little easier than last time and I really put my focus into the first big hill. I cleared it without spiking my heart rate as high as I had last time (just by pure feeling how my body reacted) and I was thrilled. The second big hill, which is about half a mile long, was much harder...but I pushed and pushed myself, begging my body just to make it to the top...promising that then I could coast a little. The top came and I relaxed slightly, but kept pushing on. It was hotter than the first time. The sun was beating down on me...and then my first walk break was in sight. As I ran closer and closer I thought to myself...why don't I see if I can run through the first walk break? Maybe I can take my walk break later in the run. So that's what I did...then I said to myself, just make it to the end of this (long) street... and at the turn when I'm heading down the last long stretch I can take a walk. So I did...and then I said to myself well... this long stretch is all down hill...no point walking when I can coast...so I ran...and I ran...and I ran. And then I said to myself... there is no point walking that really steep hill at the end when I've just run the entire thing. It's only 0.09 miles up that hill...let's go for it. No matter how slow you have to do it...just do it. Just run it. And so I did. When I got to the top of the steep hill (I'm talking 40 degree angle here) I was beat...I was tired...but I knew there were only 0.33 miles left. I HAD to do it...I just had to. So I picked up my guts...and I kept going.

There's a song that I always put on at the end of my runs and it's so uplifting that I am able to finish no matter how tired I am. Fix You by Coldplay (
) is the ultimate end of a run song...from the 2:35 minute mark on it just makes my heart sing and makes me want to be more than I thought I ever could. It's in those moments that I think of my brother and sister. In the last mile of my run, when I am tired and weak, I imagine they are my legs and in those moments I know I can fly... As I ran down that last stretch...the music and thinking of them did something to me... I started crying. Now if anyone here has tried to cry and run at the same time, it's not easy. But there I was...finishing out the last quarter mile of my run with tears welling up in my eyes as I tried to choke them back. The girl that walked past me probably thought I was crazy, but I didn't care. I was running 6.7 miles without stopping. I just shattered all of the doubts that I ever had about myself since I hurt my knee. I knew in those moments that if I could complete that run, I could do anything. And when I finished the run, I couldn't stop crying and I didn't care. I had shattered my previous PR by 7 minutes and 20 seconds (my new PR being 1:06.16). My breathing was labored, but more because of the crying than the running. I walked around my complex NOT fighting back tears. Smiling and crying...and then cried more because I could finally let myself cry. I was so unbelievably proud of myself. I knew that every workout I had done up until now was building me up to this moment.

We can't shatter doubts and walls all at once. We have to build a foundation...then pile achievement after achievement on top of each other before we can finally break through that barrier and prove to ourselves we can do anything. It's like the analogy where you hit a stone with a mallet 100 times without making a crack and then the 101st time it shatters. This was my 101st time. I can do anything...I am unstoppable...I know that now and I will know it for the rest of my life.
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