I wasn’t good at math in school. In fact, I hated it. But now, all I do is math. Running consists of a lot of numbers. You are doing math in your head ALL. THE. TIME. Especially when you are running on the treadmill. You are doing one of those hard questions that don’t make any sense but now it does. “If I am running X fast, how long will it take me to get to Central Park?”
I tend to gravitate to certain numbers, even though 444 tends to gravitate towards me. But 26.2 holds a special place with me. It’s my favorite distance to run. Why? You are crazy. Right? The majority of people don’t like them and do it only because they have to or want to complete a bucket item off their list. Well, I have a reason.
For me, it is because it’s the hardest challenge to endure. Training is the hardest part because I never know what is going to happen. My body is unpredictable and fights at all costs. When I ran the TCS NYC Marathon, I broke my ribs at mile 17 and I still feel the damage it left so when I struggle to breathe, I feel the damage it left. When I had the mini stroke 3 years ago, while it left no damage to my brain, it affected the nerves to my arms and I did run with my right arm down for 3 years. I am just NOW starting to run with better form. My chronic migraines? Ugh! Those suckers creep in whenever the hell they feel like it! And don’t even get me started on my seizures….
I go through a lot during training. Trying to get through all my chronic illnesses alone is a battle, trying to train for a marathon on top of that is what some would say…impossible. But I like challenges, they are a true test to what our body and mind can do. I am definitely mentally strong, it is my body that I have to train. A marathon may be a race full of numbers with twists and turns, but to me, it is a MAJOR accomplishment. After training and working hard to make it to double digits, the race is my reward.
Getting to the start line is already an accomplishment, but fighting through 26.2 miles and crossing that finish line, is the best feeling in the world. It is such a euphoric feeling that I can’t even put it into words. It is something you have to experience it for yourself. I know my fellow marathoners know exactly what I am talking about. For that moment that I am running and I hear the loud crowds and I see the finish line chute, and I cross the finish line, nothing else compares to that feeling. Working so hard for months in advance and fighting through your chronic illness day in and day out and never knowing what your days hold to then cross the finish line makes it all complete.
It’s all a numbers game in the end. The training miles, the running miles, and the racing miles.