Segue to: Motivation. Over the past six or seven months, this concept has been on my mind a lot. Last August, First Descents sparked my running fire, which had been mostly dormant for a while. In Jackson, I met a lot of runners and a few marathoners. I realized these people are no different from me, really. And they're running and accomplishing goals I have, so far, only dreamt up. So I returned home to Chicago and decided I would run in the 2010 Chicago Marathon. My motivation was at an all-time high because I was still riding the First Descents wave of awesome.
Of course, waves crest and fall, and mine fell pretty far beginning about January. Treadmill running, the beginnings of an injury, and general winter-induced malaise all contributed to a gradual reduction in my marathon training. And then in the beginning of March, my IT band pain got completely out of control, and I stopped running altogether. For just about two months. And then (timing being everything), it was time for me to once again meet up with my FD family, this time in Moab, Utah. Once again, I met more of the most amazing people: funny, encouraging, generous, unconditionally accepting. Oh and they run too. In fact, our camp photographer, Bear, who I had the huge good fortune of getting to know a little bit over the week, is actually an Ultra runner. I had a suspicion of this the first day or two we were there, and when I finally gathered my courage to ask if he was a runner, and he told me, Yes! and I run ultras!, my mind seriously exploded a bit.
I've recently been reading a bunch of running-related books, some on marathoners and a few on ultrarunners, and here, out in Moab, Utah, I actually, somehow, had met one. We talked some about running, and I admitted, rather sheepishly, my goal of running the marathon. I also voiced my growing fear that I won't be able to do it because I hadn't run in two months and my knee has been so super wonky. He, like so many of my fellow campers that week, expressed his confidence in me and my ability to overcome the obstacles ahead.
Flash-forward to this past Thursday... Having battled a Nasty stomach virus and come out on the winning side, my body was almost screaming at me to go outside and run. My mind resisted, but my body was all like, "Girl, you can do this; I'm ready! Remember that you seriously can do anything!" So I did. I ran. Haha, I ran two whole miles! But, but but... My knee didn't hurt. I don't really believe in miracles, especially when there is a physiological explanation for the recovery of my IT band (I've been using a foam roller). But if I wanted to follow a mystical tack for a brief moment, whatever happened out in Utah, whatever I learned or realized that I still can't quite define, whatever motivation I found from meeting an ultrarunner who thinks I can run a marathon, any and all of those things combined to heal my leg. It's still twinge-y, and I'm walking a fine line right now between desperately wanting to jump right back into training and not exacerbating the problem, but I still ran on Thursday. I ran again on Friday. And then, this morning, I saw Bear's Facebook status that he had run a "quick 14 miles," and, even though earlier I had talked myself out of going for a run, I quickly threw on my running shoes and went for Another run. 2.5 miles today. And still no pain.
Good things are happening. So many good things. Not just with the running, but that is all I wanted to mention today. There will definitely be more updates soon with other good things going on. Let me just say that while I am talking about literal running, it is also a metaphor for my life over the past year. Buncha waxing and waning, but now I am ready to go. People are my motivation. People's stories, their interests, their insecurities. We are all in this world together, and who is to say that one person can run 14 quick miles before breakfast and I can't? (I can't, but it's only a matter of time.) So what's your motivation? What gets you out of bed and running into your day? I hope it's something good. Peace.