The Big One
I sat down to map my first long distance run/walk and was pleasantly surprised to see that my road was exactly two miles long. My four-mile trip would keep me well within my comfort zone of roads/areas I knew very well (or so I thought).
I made sure I drank lots of water all day, tried on three different outfits to make sure I found one that would last a whopping four miles, and waited until my kids went down for a nap. As soon as they were tucked in, I opened the garage door and jogged to the end of my driveway (I made it to the end of the road so a little more jogging wouldn’t hurt me this time). I had decided I would turn right out of my drive way first since it had the biggest hill. Might as well get that out of the way, because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to make it up a hill at the end of my trip.
Again, I made it 3 cycles of run/walk before I decided walking was just as good. The big hill had me huffing and puffing (but not blowing down any houses this time). As I passed my house at the 1.2 mile mark, I did have a moment of hesitation. I’d made it much faster this time, and I started to tell myself this was a huge accomplishment in itself. Making it the whole four miles wouldn’t really add to my success today. I pushed those thoughts back, again, as I thought of James and how proud he was that I was going walking again while he took his nap. I do believe it’s important that you do something for yourself, otherwise it doesn’t stick, but it’s always nice to have some support especially if they are as cute as he is.
I passed my driveway and set my intention to “just keep walking.” My friends had told me that was the key to success in their half marathons – don’t stop! I made it another half mile and a favorite song came on…..so I ran a little…..for about 100 feet. It was better than nothing. I started noticing fun things about my neighbors I hadn’t seen before too. One had a plastic goat (yes, a goat!) in their front yard. Someone had just bought some land on our road and was building a tiny house, and I found a “century farm.” I’d never noticed the small sign in the 2 years we had lived in our house, but there was a farm on my road that had continually produced for over 100 years. My little “road trips” were helping me learn more about my neighborhood.
I started cataloguing all my new neighborhood knowledge, and it helped me keep my mind off of the distance or the steps. When I finally made it to the half way point and turned around at the OTHER end of my road, I can’t explain the sense of accomplishment I felt. I knew this was another one of those small wins I needed to tuck away. Almost as a reward, I disturbed two bluebirds and a cardinal on my way back. My grandfather was an avid bird watcher, and my grandmother always believed he was watching over us when she saw his favorite birds around. My heart really was gripped at that moment, and I felt encouraged by these little birds. I made a silent “hello” to my mamaw and papaw as I was overcome with memories. When I started this training, I expected to be tested and pushed physically. I never thought that I’d find the quiet space I longed for at home and the peace I felt when those little birds cheered me on. Being alone with your thoughts leaves space for others to speak up when they couldn’t be heard before.
4.2 miles, 1:13:31, 17’01” pace