On May 7, 2017 I ran my 10th full marathon in the Steel City of Pittsburgh. It was the most difficult course I have ever run, and my third best marathon finish time. I feel the need to let the world know my chip finish time of 4:18 included a pit stop, but I’m assuming approximately .67% of you even care about that. The few who would care are also most likely runners and understand how every second/minute on your chip time is a self imposed reflection on your self worth and perceived success. The rest of the world is thinking the very fact that I have run 10 Full Marathons (26.2 miles) since September of 2012 puts me in a league of my own. Yes indeed, you read that correctly. The Akron Full Marathon (another challenging, but simply amazing course) in 2012 was my first foray into full marathons and by May of 2017, only 4 and 1/2 years later, I crossed the finish line of my 10th.
Let me encourage you by reiterating a part of my story that now seems so distant. In January of 2010 I was 60 pounds heavier than I am now and couldn’t run 1 straight mile. I was knocking on the door of turning 30 and making a decision for who I wanted to be when “I grew up.” Embracing a theology of the body, meaning the revelation that God cares about how my physical human body feels, runs, and looks not because it matters in eternity but because it determines how I live and feel on this earth and the ability to which I’m able to discover and live out my purpose, was one of the single greatest things that has ever happened to me. I’ve also run 6 half marathons and countless 5K, 8K, and 5 mile charity races.
I am currently signed up to do Full marathon #11 in November and then reassess my situation. I’d like to do an ultra marathon, perhaps a 50K before or during the year of my 40th birthday. I’d like to ride my bike and participate in a “century” (100 miles) event. I’d like to get fitter and stronger than I ever thought was possible. I’d like to actually develop my writing voice and consistently blog. I’d like to scratch as much off my bucket list as possible. But for now, for this sacred space between 10th marathon’s finish and 11th marathon’s training plan, I do what my body wants me to do.
Week 1 Post Marathon: More walking and elliptical time than running, although I did run 6 whole miles that week. My lowest mileage week since I started the run streak I was on from 2011-2014.
Week 2 Post marathon: Running 16 miles, including the Cleveland Marathon 8K with my work charity fundraising team. Cycling 20 miles. Lots of walking. Some stair mastering. Strength training/weights.
Week 3 Post Marathon: Running 21 miles. Cycling 30 miles. Lots of walking. No stair mastering. Strength training/weights.
Week 4 Post Marathon: Here we are! So far (Wednesday) I’ve run 13 miles with plans for 12 more and I have plans for a 25-30 mile bike ride.
I just wanted to check in and let you know I’m alive. I have many things germinating in my mind and heart to write about and feel like I needed a blog that was a soft launch back into all things Jessica, Jesus, Family, World Changing, and running.
Remember, the world will tell you you’re “TOO MUCH”. Don’t believe me, try running as much as I do. They will tell you they don’t have time and therefore you shouldn’t have time. Don’t believe them. These same people are not the ones getting up at 5 AM to prioritize the one body God gave them. IN prioritizing physical self care, you also end up with excellent spirit and mind care as well. Try communing with nature on a run, walk, or bike every day and then tell me if you feel closer to God, more tuned into yourself, more awakened to wonder. This might not work if you stay confined to a stuffy gym. You need to breath in the perfection of creation around you.
This same world will then turn the narrative on you and tell you that you are “NEVER ENOUGH”. You still haven’t gotten that Sub-4 marathon finish. You don’t grow your own Kale in your background organic garden. You ate ice cream. You didn’t widdle your own furniture from a pocket knife.
Have no worries though fellow travelers. You can walk wildly into what God created you to be. We aren’t free just for freedoms sake alone, but we are free to sing this song of hope over the world, just as God sings it over us. Go on. Be brave. Put one foot in front of the other and start checking off those bucket list items. I know I did. Marathon #10, bucket dumped. The end.
My ode to fitness as a lifestyle:
Running. Fitness. Meditation. Contemplation. “I don’t have time for that.” I won’t prioritize soul care. Self care. Personal health care. I’ll sleep when I die. Your mind. Your body. Your spirit are on a budget. You can’t spend what you don’t have. Stay in the red and you’re lethargic anxious sick, and worse, nearly dead. Without a strategic investment, physical, emotional, and spiritual bankruptcy will soon follow. Start small. Start doable. Find scalable, sustainable. Prioritize your family and career by filling your proverbial cup so you have something to pour out. An empty well never hydrated anyone.
My Facebook Reflection from that day:
10 full marathons completed! There are moments in life that change you. These moments are rarely found in your comfort zone. A constant stream of “nothing is given, everything is earned”, “you put in the work, the results are yours to own” and “train your mind…your body will follow” flooded through my mind, pulsates through my veins. Pittsburgh, your marathon was amazing. The hospitality of your city, the vibrant crowd support, and the scenic route were what make it amazing. Your course was grueling and the most challenging, life changing, epic marathon I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t have wanted number 10 to have been any other way. I felt like I was equal parts mountain climbing and running. It never let up. There was no reprieve, but I ran strong. I had my 3rd fastest finish ever and even out ran my husband. I waited for him at the finish. Sweet sweet victory!!! #crossover #runnergirl #runnerofsteel #gameonpgh