Today I had the opportunity to run my long run with The Albany Marathon. I did only 16 miles of this run for my training. After I got my 16 miles in the main thing on my mind was getting to that finish line to see my running coach Mike Beeman come across for his first 26.2 since a terrible injury. I speak of my coach often because Mike is one of the great pioneers of running. He has stats that are unbelievable! Not to mention he is from my favorite place the Boston area and has ran The Boston Marathon 36 times in his life. So I do have so many reasons to admire him. I met with Mike for dinner the other night to go over my running and training like we do every two weeks. Mike began talking to me about being able to do this marathon and as he spoke I could feel the passion he had for this sport. The joy that radiated as he spoke of completing this run in what he suspected to be a five hour time limit was amazing for me to hear. I told him that too, and he said you see Stephanie the irony of this is that all these accomplishments, trophies, and successes have brought me a lot of joy. But the past few months interacting with my children, friends and having to relearn and refocus on my true passion has really brought me the most joy. As I listened to him saying all this I understood completely what he was talking about. He then reminded me that the journey I was taking should be enjoyed and not so stressed.
My journey for Boston began a few years ago but it has been a clear vision in my mind for many many years. Last marathon season I trained extremely hard and took my first shot at it. I crashed and burned at around mile 16 but I have kept my dream alive in my mind. I have different strategies I have come up with to keep myself upbeat and focused to enjoy this more. I like to surround myself with people that share this same interest, or I get involved in Boston qualifying races. The race I did yesterday was a Boston Qualifier and it was absolutely amazing for me to actually see runners achieve their dream! I caught myself tearing up a time or two as I congratulated some of these runners. Doing this helps me in many ways I have discovered. With all the training I do plus working I go through burnout, mental and physical. This is one way I have found to help me deal with it and still train and enjoy my journey.
Running is my true passion but when I am not involved with the running of races it is a real joy for me to be a part of the events in any way I can. Most of all witnessing different people achieve their goals and overcoming struggles such as Mike has. I like to be a part of it because I can relate to it all. I try to reach out to and encourage other runners in every way I can because I know first hand that whether it is a negative or a positive reaction you give it makes such a large difference to people. For example, as I was running yesterday I had a guy make a comment to me about my limp he said it in a condescending way which immediately broke my focus. I didn’t wish to be running near a negative person that would do that. This type of behavior in my opinion toward other athletes or just anyone is unnecessary, and I keep my distance from people I can feel are looking to break my spirit. This is another strategy I have to help me enjoy my journey. Because I have found that when you radiate true passion for something you come in contact with people who do not understand their own joys in life so they try and take over yours or drag you down. But bad mouthing people doesn’t give anyone any extra advantage I have learned. So I try not to do it very often and especially be around those that do.
This year I refuse to not enjoy everything about my training journey. Although I go through that terrible burnout from hard training and racing I am happy I have figured out how to deal with this and push through it! Like my Bman has taught me I will enjoy my year by getting a grip on this hectic schedule and enjoy every part of it…