PHOTO: Max Menning, Marek Ogień, Andrea Schiliro'
Marathon training is hard work but at the end of the day, I am doing it because it is my passion and this was a wonderful reminder that I need to allow myself to enjoy and celebrate my passion. At the very least I shouldn’t be referring to my training as a regime.
LONG RUN - RUNNING WITH LEGENDS
Sunday afternoon Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson came to camp to join us for a long run!!
I was enjoying running with a small group at a strong and steady pace when I looked over my shoulder and saw Joan alone a couple hundred meters back. I thought to myself, I can click off km’s any day at any pace but I will likely never get the opportunity to run with Joan Benoit Samuelson again! I dropped back and I ran with her for a good portion of our long run. I asked her what she thought of yesterday's events and told her the amazing lessons that I had learned while being here. We were going at a pretty strong pace so I figured she must be training for something? She said that she is training to run a sub 3-hour marathon in the fall and that she will be 60 in 9 days!!!!
LESSON 3. THERE IS NO FINISH LINE
In the back of my head, I am aware that there is a clock ticking away above the timeline of my marathon years, at this point, there is still a lot of time on the clock but I always think what happens when I reach my potential or if I get to my peak and start regressing? Hearing Joan’s goal to break 3 hours at the age of 60 made me realize that it’s never over, there really is no finish line in running. You need to stay hungry and set goals that challenge you at any age and fitness level.
"BUT I'M NOT A RUNNER "
I went to Monza as a RUNNER excited to see history be made in the sport that I am passionate about. The camp was filled with a diverse range of runners. There were other NRC pacers, Run Clubs and then individuals that were there through Airbnb's “Why do you run contest” While everyone had a relationship and passion for running I found these individuals the most interesting. I would talk to them and ask them what their relationship for running is?
Rachel - Martin Richard, The youngest victim of the Boston Bombing was one of her students and she had promised him that she would run a marathon with him when he turned 18. She runs for a foundation called MR8 and trains for the Boston Marathon every year. "BUT I’M NOT A RUNNER."
Caleb - Helps run a program called Youth Run NOLA (New Orleans, LA), which creates and empowers a community of healthy young leaders through running. "BUT I AM NOT A RUNNER."
LESSON 4. MORE THAN RUNNING
I kept on hearing these stories from individuals explaining how they use running to enhance their passion or to make a difference for something that is meaningful to them. But they didn't identify as runners.. so why were they here?
These individuals were using running to break barriers and make a difference in their everyday life! It was talking to these people that made me realize that this weekend was about more than running.
I came to the camp so focused on running and breaking2 that I almost missed the bigger picture. IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN RUNNING! It’s about finding the 2-hour barrier in your life and breaking it! That is why these individuals were here. Meeting them made me think about the barriers in my life, outside of running, that I need to break.
The ironic thing is that running is my passion and unlike the individuals mentioned above, I don’t use it to enhance other aspects of my life. In fact, I do the opposite. Being at this camp and surrounded by these amazing people made me realize that I've been using running as a coping mechanism to soothe myself and that I have fallen asleep in other areas of my life. Being at this camp and meeting these individuals WOKE ME UP. I need to stop using running as an escape, I shouldn’t want to escape in the first place. I suppose the overall realization is that, I need to find a way to spend more hours of my life doing something that I am either passionate about or find meaningful. That is my barrier.
THE REAL REASON THAT WE RUN
In closing this weekend can be summarized by Bill Bowerman - “ The real purpose of running isn't to win the race, it's to test the limits of the human heart.”
That is what this weekend was about. It was about inspiring others. Eliud, Zersenay and Lelisa set out to do something that the world was telling them can’t be done. I hope that they inspired you to pick a goal, one that is so big that you might be afraid to share it at first, one that will test your heart and your character, one that is so audacious that you might not even achieve it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you achieve it or not, but I guarantee that if you train for it and put a genuine effort into achieving it you will be changed and it will be the most rewarding thing that you will have ever done for yourself.
At the end of the day when I look back at what I have achieved in this sport, I would like to be able to say that I ran a sub 2:20:00 Marathon.
Breaking2 was 2 years in the making. It might take me 2 years to achieve this, it might take me 4, it might take me the rest of my competitive days and at the end, It might not even happen. I have no reason to put a limit of myself and no reason not to try.
To achieve this goal there are several smaller ones that I have to conquer along the way. The first being to get under 2:25:00. So in a couple of weeks when I start my official fall marathon build that will be what I am aiming for.
Thank you for reading,
I look forward to hearing your goals and following your journey as you set out to achieve them.
There are more people than I even know that I owe thanks to and I will never be able to thank you enough. Paulina, Jess, Ali, Inge, NRC Italy for hosting us and everyone that made this experience my reality - Thank you