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Training for a DNF

Throughout this past week, I have been shown an extreme amount of love, support, and sympathy. It’s been quite overwhelming, and I am thankful for every bit of it. A few people have mentioned to me that they were so sorry that I had put in all of that training, only to end up in this situation. In that past, I think I too would have felt sorry for myself. Four months of training for a DNF and a pair of crutches…. it’s not the ideal way I wanted to spend my spring. But I don’t feel sorry for myself and I am anything but sad that I spent so long training only to miss out on my Boston medal. I have so many memories from the last four months and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Mentally and physically, they brought me to a new level.

Here are a few of the reasons I’m not sad about training for a DNF…

First of all, I would have been running anyway. A marathon to train for just gave me a goal. On top of that, those four months were the most rewarding months I’ve ever spent training. To start with, January and February were cold. Like really cold. I learned that I could run in 23 degree weather and be just fine. The track workout I did one February morning with an impending snow storm, made me feel like a real bad ass. It was pretty damn cold with very strong winds, and I made it through every single interval. I high fived myself on the way to the car. Not to mention the mornings I made it to the track before 6:00am, which made me realize there was nothing more awesome than finishing a workout while watching the sunrise.

Then there was the 18.5 miler I did in the pouring down rain with 8 miles at 7:30 pace. I was certain that it was going to be my most miserable run ever. It was, to a point, but it was also an epic run. And it will go down in my books as one of my favorite runs to date. I congratulated myself out loud when I finished. I also came to appreciate running through the woods at Umstead. Nothing makes a run go by faster than ticking off the miles while watching nature pass you by. Those runs made me happy.

 
Then there were the encouraging runs. During a few 20 milers, a sudden burst of energy propelled me through the last 4 miles at a 7:40 pace, which was always a confidence booster. It taught me that fading during a marathon doesn’t have to happen. Another memory I have is dominating the ridiculously steep .5 mile hill along the Raleigh greenway. When I first started training in January, I admit, I walked up that hill a time or two. But as my fitness improved, that hill didn’t seem so bad after all. I came to really understand how the body can adapt. It’s all about the work you put forth.

People always say it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. The past four months have been a wonderful journey and it taught me a thing or two about myself, my discipline, and my mental fortitude. I was hoping to arrive at my destination last Monday, but my journey got an extension. Which really isn’t so bad because I like long trips. Perhaps I’ll arrive April 2015.  Here’s to the journey!

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

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