Every few weeks of my marathon training, I am afforded an opportunity to “step back” from the ever increasing mileage. This reduction in long run mileage provides a nice opportunity to examine my progress. Just as in life in general, this self-evaluation is essential to forward motion and success.
An additional benefit of this temporary decrease in the progressively longer long runs is a little more freedom to do something a little different than the norm. A break from pavement training is certainly one welcomed change.
I head out on my favorite trail with one very special guy — who is really appreciative that I am sharing this bit of heaven with him. He’s a stronger runner than me (at least in the 1st 10 miles or so) but I am sure that, if we were to go long enough, I would eventually catch up. I don’t try to run his pace.
Constantly, I remind myself that this is my training run and that I need to go my own pace. It’s best this way; I have a lot on my mind. I let him take the lead and step back a bit to reflect on my progress in many areas of my life. And after a bit of self-reflection has transpired, I am able to pick up the pace and take the lead for a while.
Something else that I stepped back from was the book my neighbor had loaned me. I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d ever pick it up again except to return it to her. Tonight, however, I decided that I wanted to find out why I was given this book. I picked back up where I left off.
I wasn’t surprised to find that the next chapter was about the writer hitting the 1st anniversary of her husband’s passing. The short chapters that followed told of her and her son’s grief journey — of how their experience had changed them (good and bad), and of how she finally arrived at a new norm. Seven years later, she still hit waves of grief from time to time. And yet, these “aftershocks,” as she calls them, do not stop her from forward motion. They simply remind her of the value in stepping back.
My thanks goes out to all who have supported me in these past 4 years. I am so grateful.
I don’t think you’ve figured out how strong you really are, Juls. I pray you never have to….