Once upon a time, there was a woman (not me) who walked sometimes but never ran. Over the years, this woman began to run short distances, but only on the treadmill. She refused to run outside. She had no real goals for her running, just to keep in shape. Her friend (me) started to do marathons and one day this woman wondered if she could too. She started to run outside. Her short distances turned into long training runs. She fell in love with running, not just on roads, but on trails too. She did her first half marathon (2010), then her first marathon the next year. She kept running.
This woman trained wisely. She did not over train. If something hurt she took a day off. She learned how to fuel herself for her long runs. She recovered well. Running became her sanity. Over the years she has come to believe in herself as a runner. Her confidence has soared. She wanted something more so she signed up for a 50K. And, this weekend, she did it.
This ^^^ is my friend Joie who I’ve trained with a lot over the years. I think she’s a fabulous example of someone who simply made her goal happen and has stayed healthy and balanced while doing it.
I haven’t done much coaching lately, but I did do Joie’s 50K plan. It was a plan that alternated hard and easy weeks with back to back long runs on the weekends. Her mileage topped out at 51 miles per week. She did some intervals and some hill work. And, she did lots of trail running.
The day started chilly….
Nervous and headed for the start line:
She did her first loop (10K) and came in looking strong and confident.
After her second loop, and 18 miles into this 31 mile journey, the day was heating up and getting into the 80s. She was feeling the sun and was tired. I paced her for about six miles trying to encourage her to not throw up and to keep moving forward. I knew at points it took everything she had, but she kept going. It made me smile, just knowing how hard it is to feel like dogshit and to have the courage and strength to keep going.
When we hit the start of this “hill” I said goodbye and left her, because that is the kind of friend/coach I am (actually pacing wasn’t really allowed so I had run behind her for the six miles, just as company not to provide assistance).
I knew she was hurting, but I also knew how strong she was physically and mentally. We waited – her husband, her kids, her mom, Ken and I - and after 6 hours and 20 minutes, I put the medal around her neck.
She was a bit tired and I’m really not sure why.
Joie completely shocked herself by coming in 2nd out of 18 in the 40-49 age group for women. She was 2 minutes behind first place, but that was only because she had to squat behind a bush for an emergency evacuation during the last five miles.
I write this post as a reminder that the sky is the limit. It is cliché, but the truth is that the only true obstacles in our way are the ones we put there ourselves. I’ve got to say, that there is NOTHING like watching someone you love work their ass off and meet their goal.
What’s the next big goal (that scares you shitless) that you are going to commit to? I don’t know. I’m thinking…what should it be??