I knew Friday, September 20 would be a difficult day. My older son’s football team had an away game and I wanted to go. The team hired a charter bus to take up the cheerleaders, parents, and any other fans that wanted to make the road trip. I wanted to be on that bus. I wanted to go root for the Patriots.
The bus was leaving the school at 12:15. It wasn’t expecting to be back until about 1 am.
It was Friday. It was September 20th. I had to run 20 miles.
All before 11 am?
As soon as I found out about the bus ride I started dreading that day. Originally I figured my husband and I would drive up to watch the varsity game that started at 7. But, then they came up with the chartered bus. My husband couldn’t go because he had to work that day and wouldn’t be done til after 3. I told my son that I probably wouldn’t go cuz I don’t like to do things like that by myself. My husband is like my safety blanket. If we couldn’t go together, then I’d just stay home. But, I could tell that my son didn’t think that was an appropriate response. He wanted me to go. And that’s when the real dread set in. I had to commit. One, I had to go by myself and two, I had to get all my miles in before I left. Ugh.
Then my son got hurt. He wouldn’t be able to play in that away game nor the following week’s game. Should I not go? No. Yes, I wanted to see my son play, but the purpose of the bus was to bring the Patriot fan club to the away game. And, whether my son plays or not, we are fans. My husband couldn’t go so I needed to represent.
I started really dreading that Friday on the 17th. That was a tough day. I knew Friday would be that much tougher.
I made a plan. Get up early, run on the mill. Take the boys to school. Run on the mill. Work for about an hour, run on the mill. Run on the mill. Run FAST on the mill. Have 20 miles done before 11 so that I could get ready and be at the school by noon.
I got up early and headed to the mill.
First 6 miles done but it took longer than expected. My legs were heavy.
I took my oldest son to school and decided to run a few miles before I took my second son to school.
I ran just under 3 miles. My legs wouldn’t go fast enough.
I came home from taking him to school, turned on my computer and looked at the time. I started calculating how many miles I had left versus how much time I had. If I couldn’t run a 10 minute or better pace I wouldn’t make it. I wouldn’t have a prayer.
The pace was too slow. I just couldn’t get my legs to go.
About 2 miles into this run, realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to get them done, get ready and get to the bus on time my eyes welled up and I started to cry. I felt like a failure. I was trying so hard and I just couldn’t get my legs to go. It was just too much. The tears turned into sobbing. I was crying hard. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t make my legs go and I couldn’t get the tears to stop. Why was I even trying? This was a dumb challenge anyway. No one in their right mind does something like this. Who do I think I am? People run marathons all the time and they do it in under 3 or 4 hours. Here I am, I can’t even get a measly 20 miles done before 11 am. I started at 5:40. What is wrong with me?
I just kept crying. I sobbed my way through 6 miles. (Which probably didn’t help my pace either.)
I finally turned off the mill. I took a deep breath. Well?
And that’s when I knew it wasn’t over. I just needed another plan. I was far from giving up, far from quitting. I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to find a way to get the remaining 5 miles in.
Earlier in the day my husband had asked me if I was going to run up in Ontario before the game. I had laughed at him. “Are you kidding? No, I’ll get my miles done before I leave.” He gave me that look, you know the one that says “Yeah, you might want to rethink that.” And, as much as I hate it when he’s right, it was exactly what I had to do. So, I got ready to go. I dressed to run and I brought clothes to change into as soon as I was done.
Up in the stands I told a few parents that I needed to go run. I got that blank look. “What?” “Yeah, I need to run 5 miles. I’m going over to that neighborhood (pointing the direction I was headed) and if I’m not back in about an hour or so could someone come looking for me?” One of the moms (thank you Lord!) pulled out her phone and said “What’s your number?” I gave it to her. They all wished me luck and off I went. I know they probably thought I had lost my mind but when I have a goal… Just try and stop me. Ain’t gonna happen!
I forgot to take a before photo because I was trying to figure out where I was going to run. I saw a neighborhood that looked safe next to the school and decided to head over there.
I ran around and through all the culdesacs.
And, I finished all 20 miles.
When Sheila said I had hit the 5 mile mark my eyes welled up again. Not because I was failing but because I just conquered another day.
The Patriots went on to win, JV 50-15 and Varsity 35-13. 🙂 I’m so glad I was there!