"It's not about the destination, it's about the journey."
I've heard that expression many times before, even repeated it myself...yet, this is the first time that I truly feel like I understand what it means. When I started my Marathon training back in December, I was coming off my worst marathon time to date, some weight gain, a lack of confidence and a dash of that post-breakup phase; mentally I was just blah. If there is anything I've learned it's that when life knocks you down, you can either throw in the towel or you get back up, smile, and politely say, "You hit like a Bitch." I've never been one to stay down for long and come on let's face it, everyone loves a good comeback story. I know I do.
It hasn't been easy but for the past 21 weeks, I've made marathon training my priority. I've known that the Shiprock Marathon has been my destination all along. "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey." I've told my training partner, Kim, I could get hurt tomorrow and miss the opportunity to run this race and I would be okay with it. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the destination that we forget to acknowledge the journey. The journey is where the magic happens, and I am extremely satisfied with myself on what I have accomplished during this 21 week journey.
Miles, Metrics and Weight Loss
I've run quite a bit; It's not even the halfway point of 2017 but I'm already at 730 Miles. To me that's insane! I'm on pace to PR for my yearly mileage. Along with all of those miles comes many a calorie burn. Back in November, I weighed in at around 218.8 lbs. Weight loss wasn't necessarily my goal however I know that knew it would happen since I would be burning so much. In the last two months is where I've lost a majority of the weight. My main take away was that when I wasn't super strict (when I indulged a little)...that is when I would feel the best and actually lose more weight versus when I was super strict. Also check out that running data: In 21 weeks, I ran for almost 106 hours. That's almost the amount of time it would take you to watch all 7 seasons of the Walking Dead!
I've never had a training partner before so this was a new experience for me. I must have done many a good deed in a former life because I was truly lucky to find Kim, back in February. One could say it was a serendipitous chain of events that lead us to run into each other (Yes, pun intended #sorrynotsorry). We get along very well; It certainly helps that we apparently "share a brain" and are both enthusiastic about anything running related. I like to think that we feed off of one another and we have learned so much about this sport that we love based off our training partnership. Also thank you for the wake up calls haha. I have never met anyone more dedicated and hard working than Kim; It is very inspiring to see how she tackles the demands of marathon training, as well as, being a full-time mom, wife and business owner. And here I am complaining that I don't have enough time. Shut up, Johnny! haha.
Cross-training & Recovery
I'm 33 years-old now and I definitely have had to train smarter and not harder this go round. I've felt a little more aches and pains than I use to and also I've noticed that I actually have to warm-up and stretch now instead of winging it. Listening to my body has been SO IMPORTANT this time. It's taught me to be adaptable and if I feel that my body needs to rest, then let it rest. I also have discovered the value of cross training. Apparently, I've a glute issue for many years now, however, I never connected the dots. It was thanks to my training partner, that we narrowed down what was going on (glute & core weakness) and incorporate a solution. I guess your body just doesn't like it when you sit for hours at a time at your job, and then go and run a lot; It's counter intuitive. I made some changes in my training and incorporated a Pilates, swimming and switched up my routine at work to avoid sitting for long hours at a time. It has helped immensely. The glute tightness hasn't completely gone away but it's definitely much better.
During my journey, I can't tell you when it specifically happened but mentally, I went from feeling blah to feeling happy, confident and at peace. I started feeling more in touch with my feelings on what I wanted out of life. That positive Johnny is back and better than ever! I can honestly say that I haven't felt like this in a long time. There are times during the day when I just smile and feel lucky to have the life that I do. Plus I have all these amazing friends and family...it's like someone up there likes me ;)
As you see, this has been an awesome training cycle for me. This doesn't guarantee that everything will go smoothly on Saturday though. On race day there are many things that are out of our control (Weather, injuries, how your body will react, etc) and all we can do is take care of everything that we can control. I'm in the best running shape of my life and I'm ready for this race. No matter what happens at my destination, at the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror and take pride that I put in all the work and accomplished so much during my journey...no one can take that away from me. I did my part and the rest is up to the running gods.