Confidence & Perseverance

There are officially less than 8 weeks until the Chicago Marathon, and I’m feeling great about my training so far this season. I ran 18 miles this past Saturday (!) and the rest of my training includes running the Giants Half Marathon in a couple weeks, another 18 miler and concluding my long runs with a 20 mile long run. This leaves room for a 3 week taper and then the big day on October 8th.

I know I’m not alone in that I get nervous about my long runs. The thought of running that many miles at once is physically and mentally intimidating. I follow this training plan, and on this plan the long run distance starts at 6 miles and in the course of 13 weeks advances to 20 miles. Again, that’s 6 miles to 20 miles in 13 weeks! To reflect and think that your body has become strong enough to run 14 more miles in a single run is crazy and completely amazing.

That is why I love running so much. Because running is the development of both physical and mental strength. Running forces introspection; it teaches you to really listen to yourself. You are the only person at the end of the day who can make all of this worth it. What you put in, you will get out. No one can run the miles for you.

There’s an honesty about marathon training that gets overlooked. We need to listen to our bodies, treat them well, and know the difference between true fatigue and doubt. It’s often the most difficult part of training, making that rest day call. The days when your body is worn down and needs to recover. I’m sick right now, and it’s hard for me to accept when I have a 6 mile run on the schedule. But I’m listening to myself and trying to be kind.

More often than not, it’s not fatigue. Our bodies have become stronger. Instead, it’s doubt. It’s the place in your brain that will manipulate you to believe that you can’t hit your paces, that 18 miles really is too long, that you’ll just wing it at the end or the adrenaline will carry you on race day. So what is it that overcomes doubt and second guessing? You guessed it: confidence and perseverance. People start running for different reasons, but these two lessons are in my opinion the most valuable outcomes when you train for a race. Confidence to overcome doubt. Perseverance to try anyway, keep going and overcome. Listening to yourself, doing what’s best for you, accepting that you are human, and knowing that you are still strong and bad ass to even try in the first place is a gift.

I’ve loved being more involved with my Team in Training group this season. In case you missed it, I’m running the marathon with Team in Training to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. On Wednesday nights we have track practice at Kezar Stadium and Saturday mornings we meet up for long runs. While it’s challenging getting to the other side of San Francisco after work some Wednesdays and difficult to pump yourself up at that notoriously windy and foggy track, it’s thrilling to feel myself get faster each week. Our coaches, Joe and Megan, come up with the workouts and plan out our long run routes, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the variety. When I was training for the SF marathon solo last year, I would procrastinate my long run until 10 or 11 am and run the same route over and over. Our Team in Training long runs start at 7 am, and knowing that I have other people to run with and am done by the time I used to start has been a game changer.

I have some donations that I haven’t submitted yet, so I’m over halfway to my fundraising goal, too. I’m getting pumped for Chicago and have appreciated your support tremendously, checking in on how I’m feeling, asking about my shin splints, how my run went, etc. If you’d like to donate, I’d be so grateful and you can do so here.

Running does so much for my body and soul, and I love sharing my journey with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.

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One Year

Today marks one year that my beautiful friend and roommate, Kate, passed away.

There are some days that I still can’t believe she is gone. I’m quickly reminded because of the void I, and all that knew her feel on a constant basis.

On this forum and in life I’ve talked a lot about who she was; a confident free spirit who let her heart and intuition guide her. She was one of the most self-serving people I’ve ever known, and she was who she was respectfully, honestly, and responsibly. She did only things that served her happiness, purpose, and truth. And she did that while simultaneously volunteering and mentoring, passionately pouring herself into her book, running, practicing yoga, traveling the world, going camping, etc.

What makes me the most sad is that there are people in this world who will never know her. There are so many who need her, who could have benefited from her bright light and they never will.

Kate was fearless. She was human, she made mistakes. But she lived knowing who she was, and if you had a problem with that it didn’t affect her much. I’m pretty much the opposite; I’ve always needed validation from others. As a result I’ve let the fear of judgment from others influence my decisions and feelings. But this year I’ve challenged myself to embody the Kate mantra; to do what makes me happy and live my truth. All I, or any of us, can hope for is that while we are trying to do our best, to live the best version of our happiest lives, we have the support and kindness from those we love most. And if we don’t receive that, recognizing we need to rethink those we hold close to us.

Kate has given me inspiration, taught me lessons, strength and courage every day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her, miss her, or wish she was still living in our apartment. I know that’s how you can verify the impact of someone on your life when they are gone; when they continue to be a great life teacher after they’ve passed.

Kate has also given me the gift of new friends. Before Kate’s passing, I didn’t hang out with the Wisconsin Crew much, but that changed after our shared tragedy. Now this scrappy group of Badger alum are an integral part of my life.  I can’t thank them enough for their support, love, and friendship this past year.

With the anniversary of Kate’s death comes some good news. The book Kate was working on publishing, Fly With Maya, will soon be available for purchase. You can read more on the website, but in short it’s the amazing story of a girl who travels around the world, meeting engineers along the way on a hot air balloon. It’s a beautiful story of teaching a little girl that she can be anything she wants, even a typically male dominated profession like an engineer.

In memory of Kate, I encourage you to sign up to volunteer, cook a healthy meal from a cookbook you’ve never used, go for a run, arrange a gathering with family or friends, plan your next big vacation, or call a friend you’ve lost touch with. She did all of these things in a single day. If we could all be more like Kate, this world would be a much more wonderful place.

I try, everyday, to be more like Kate.

With love,

Brittny