Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How I went really far without really going anywhere...

At the end of my last post, I had accepted the reality that my 22 miler was completely out-of-the-question.

However, Saturday morning I got the crazy idea that for every minute Sarah spent on the road running her 22 miles that day, I would spend a minute on the bike, elliptical, or treadmill at the gym.  I mean, we're a team after all!  Since my knee didn't hurt at all when I walked, I figured I might as well log some significant mileage, even if it wasn't actual running and even if it wasn't the full distance.

I started at 4:40 pm and sent Sarah a text saying "Let's see if I can make it until 8:40. HAhahaha!"

At 10:11 pm, I sent her a text that said "22 miles. Done."

I'm still not quite sure how it happened.  It was just like giving birth...it was like I was in some alternate universe, where time had no meaning and all I could think about was the end result.  I didn't mean to do it.  Really, I didn't.  Even thinking about going for 4 hours (the amount of time Sarah would be running) was a tiny bit of a joke.  But about 2 1/2 hours into it something inside my head clicked.  This was already an incredibly stupid and crazy idea.  I was already waaaaay outside of the realm of normal, so why not just step it up a notch?  Why not just scratch the timeline and go the distance instead?

And so I walked.  And walked.  And walked.  I watched whatever was on the gym TV almost the entire time: "50 First Dates", "Iron Chef" (Canadian lobster...the challenger actually won!), and my personal favorite, "I Faked My Own Death" (?!?!?).  I stopped once to go to the bathroom (and then to foam roll and stretch for about 20 minutes, as once I stopped my muscles immediately tried to shut down) and once to switch from the treadmill to the elliptical for my final 5 miles.  Other than that, I just kept moving.  I texted Josh at one point to tell him I had decided to go for the entire 22 miles and would be late getting home.  He responded "That is really crazy, Christie."  I replied, "Crazy stupid? Or crazy but within the realm of reason?"  "Not sure," he said. My reply: "Me either."

Regardless of the level of sanity (or lack thereof), words cannot convey what that 22 miler meant to me.  So many times throughout our training, I've pictured the moment I finish that 22 mile run.  It's the ultimate climax in marathon training.  The "now I KNOW I can do it" moment.  And up until Saturday evening, I didn't think I was going to have that moment.  It made me feel so far removed from the race.  Honestly, taking away the chance to have that moment was like taking away the heart of training.  I didn't realize just how important it was to me until I began my last 5 miles on the elliptical.  It was the first time I turned on my iPod, and the music coupled with the adrenaline of knowing I was in the final stretch (and that I was actually going to do this!) gave me a 2nd wind like I couldn't believe.  Multiple times I got teary eyed.  It took everything in me to resist the urge to jump off and do a little dance on the gym floor.  I told my husband to pop open some champagne.  I was about to accomplish something ridiculous, and by gosh I was going to celebrate.

Today is the 6 month anniversary of my "real" running.  While I had run a few scattered miles last winter, March 20th was the day I logged my first 3 miles on my Half Marathon training program.  Here I am, on September 20th, looking back in awe wondering how in the world I got here.  It's such a great reminder of my favorite running mantra: "If you do it, it will come."  I am not some star athlete.  I was not born to do this.  I have not been doing it my whole life.  I did not use to do it, took some time off, and decided to start up again.  I started from scratch, struggling with every step, hating the thought of running but loving the idea of being a runner.  I just continued to put one foot in front of the other, and here I am, 2.5 weeks out from running a marathon.  I never, ever, e v e r  thought I'd be here.  Yet somehow, here I am.  It blows my mind.  And as I told Sarah this afternoon, if nothing else, it makes for a really good Christmas letter. :)

From here on out, nothing really matters.  Yes, we are supposed to still run 4x a week.  Yes, we are supposed to do an "easy" 12 miler next weekend.  But neither of us really cares.  We just ran (or power-walked :) 22 miles.  We have officially trained for a marathon.  We did it!  We did it!  We really, really did it!!  Helloooooo, taper.  We've been expecting you. :)

Toasting while waiting for my ice bath to fill up :).  Cheers!


L. Le said...

Oh. My. Gosh. Christie!!!

You literally are my hero, hands down. You are so inspirational beyond words. Kev and I so proud of you!!! We love you!

Anonymous said...

Wow, way to go! That is incredible! I don't think I would have the mental stamina to power walk 22 miles at the gym. You are so tough!

Nicole Wagner said...

The only thoughts in my head right now are: you are ONE of a kind Christie my dear. Love you to bits. go get it!!

Francoise Weeks said...

You and Sara are so incredibly amazing! and inspiring!
Where there is a will, there is a way - you sure both know all about that!!!
Congratulations for your incredible achievements!