When the light goes off.

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Just over a week ago, I ran a splendid 17 miles, filled with incredible up’s and really low downs. I had wonderful company, the kind that knows when to shut their mouths and when to keep you talking. I had a beautiful day, I’m talking 43 degrees with plenty of sunshine, which considering the polar vortex is, one hundred percent rare. And it wasn’t bad overall. I feel like at the end, I really came into my own. I hit my groove. It wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had but it certainly wasn’t horrible. The smiles, the high fives, the supporting chatter, the water breaks, made it something special, even though Alan once again chose a route that almost damn well killed me. (all of us I’m sure) These difficult runs, I know, will prep me for the long haul and I’m looking forward to seeing how my hilly training will measure up the day of the race. In truth, once we stopped running, I was relieved but I felt pretty darn good. I felt a real sense of accomplishment, this being something that I never thought I could do. And while I know that my two legs, carry me, which means, yes, I do the work myself, therefore I am capable, I could NOT do these runs alone. I would not.

There wasn’t a lot of talking on this run. Miles 1-5 were really challenging for me. I couldn’t keep up. The hills were crushing my soul. I was cold. I was tired. I just didn’t want to be there. Once I felt a little better and the course eased up, I still stayed mostly quiet. I had a lot to think about. In my head I was calculating the changes that I knew I needed to make. My nutrition has not been on par and it’s showing in my speed. That may sound silly to some but I know my body well. Too much sugar, too many carbs, too much crap slows me down. Because of my heart condition, I tend to “feel” everything I put in my body. Butter, bacon, sugar, all instantly create a sluggish, heart frenzied feeling. My doctor was clear about his expectations if I wanted to continue running: no sugar, no butter, no processed carbohydrates, no fried food, minimal processed food, no red meat, no alcohol if I could manage it, lots of water, listen to my body. You know how much I have listened to him: ZERO amount. Marathon training has convinced me that I am invincible and can stuff whatever I feel like into my face. And I have. The coming of March marks the most difficult month of my training and I know what I need to do. Or I won’t make it. I need to be better to myself, for myself. Otherwise, my training partners, will be going it without me.

So the conversation with myself for 17 miles wasn’t the most upbeat, but it was one I needed to have.

My goal this month is to shed 10 pounds. I need to get some of the fat off. I need to tone, strengthen and prepare my body for the big day. I have 48 days left of being able to say the words: “I’m training for the Boston Marathon.” and I do intend to do them justice. The Boston Marathon does not deserve someone taking up a spot who couldn’t stick to a goal and work as hard as she could to do the best she can. No one’s going to die if I don’t eat fourteen bowls of Raisin Bran or skip that bowl of ice cream. I’m not missing out if I refuse dessert. The marathon I’m about to run is worth all the dessert in the world. So my new favorite phrase this month will be: “No thank you.” My workouts also have to be more constructive. It can’t always be about just running the distance. I need to make the most out of the time I put in. I need to put forth the correct amount of effort. Maximum effort. If I have to do the treadmill, I can’t just put on a movie and zone out. I need to work it. And that’s it. No more to say about it than that.

This weekend in Colorado I didn’t have any magic moment in the sun. I didn’t climb a mountain and have the great epiphany I expected. It snowed and it was cold. Which meant I didn’t run. Or doing anything constructive. I shoved burgers in my face and drank beer. UGH. I tried to run 3 miles and I felt like I was legit having a stroke, the altitude was just too much for me. But regardless of that, I felt defeated. I felt like someone just stomped on my happy cloud. It was a very frustrating experience. On the plane ride home I watched a documentary about Lance Armstrong and although he is a douche, it excited me. Excellence isn’t carved out of sitting on the ground whining. Excellence isn’t born from regret or “what-if’s.” Excellence is something that you breed from within. It can only be produced, duplicated or expected by putting the work in, the hard work, on a good or bad day and putting forth the best effort you can.

I’m sick of being sick and tired of myself.

It’s time to find my excellence.

I will run the Boston Marathon. And I will run it in a decent time. Then I will go back to Boston’s run to Remember in May and break two hours by a considerable amount. I’m not interested in 5K’s or 10K’s. I may do one here or there. I’m a distance girl. Always have been. And I’m ready to get that girl back. I’m coming for those hills.

Get ready.

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