Originally posted at http://53riverbankrun.com/blog/roadwarriors/2014/08/06/nothing-worth-doing-is-easy/
Last Saturday, I woke up at 4 am because today was the day. Today I was really going to run 50 miles.
As I got dressed, I felt a glimpse of what Clark Kent must feel when he changes into Superman. Here I am: just a regular person, a mom of 2 kids, married for 10 years, working a normal job, and doing normal things like losing my car keys and quick washing the dishes in the sink before I have to leave. But once I put on my running gear and lace up my shoes, everything changes. I am not a normal person anymore. I am stronger, faster, braver, and more capable than I was before. I am someone different: an adventurer, a fighter, and someone willing to test their limits.
Adele, a former Road Warrior from years past, joined me at 5:30 am and we set out to run 50 long, long miles. I had a pit in my stomach, the nervous and excited energy that you get before you do something really big or something you are not so sure of. There was no turning back now. I hit the start button on my Garmin and we ventured into the dark with only our headlamps to show us the way.
The first 30 miles I must say, flew by. We talked, we laughed, we joked around, we took pictures, we told stories, and we bonded in a way that only fellow runner friends can. There is something different about running alongside someone early in the morning for hours on end, it’s something realer and truer than anything else you can do. There is no need to impress anyone, there is no way to skirt who you are at the core because it just comes out whether you want it to or not, your guard comes down, and your secrets feel safe between the two of you and the ever growing road beneath your feet. And for the first 30 miles, we stuck side by side, drinking in our long run, enjoying each other’s company, and unburdening our past, present, and future. It was nothing short of amazing.
When we stopped for food around the 30 mile mark and I realized how much longer we had to go still, something became unhinged in my mind. I started laughing hysterically – crazy, maniacal laughter that I couldn’t quiet. I was laughing so hard I was crying while my running partner Adele, and my husband/crew chief, looked at me like I might be losing my grip. No one else was laughing but me, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make myself stop. It was exhaustion, desperation, and anxiety coming out. Things took a turn for the ugly very quick in the 30’s.
The miles ticked by slower than anything I had ever seen in my life, we were running indefinitely and hysteria threatened to overtake my fragile mind. Everything hurt, the sun was blazing down on us with no end in sight, and we were only now just over half way there. Both Adele and I were struggling. One of us would feel better while the other felt worse, then the roles would reverse. The fun run was officially over, now it was more like a death march to the end. There’s not much I can say about those miles except they were extremely hard. The range of emotions that rises up in you when you’ve been running for 8+ hours is staggering and uncontrollable. Tears for no reason, anger for no reason, and complete and utter exhaustion for good reason, When running is no longer fun, you have to remind yourself why you are doing it and what you want out of this. It was hard to remember during some of the dark miles. And then it was like running through a fog that suddenly lifts, because around mile 41, I found a second wind. I ran with renewed passion, finishing the last 9 miles faster than the first 9 miles. Watching Adele fight for it was awe inspiring too. It didn’t matter what was happening, she was still moving forward, always moving towards her goal. We both finished hours over our projected goal time of 12 hours, but still, I consider it a wild success because we both finished.
In running, in life, and in nearly everything, we have a choice. Keep moving or quit. It’s as simple as that. So when you want to quit, remember why you are doing this, remind yourself what you want out of this, and fight for it if it’s worth it to you.