Yes, another running post. (Don’t worry, friends, I’ve got some sewing projects and an event review coming up this week, too!)
Last week’s training was a little off. My husband was out on a weekend spiritual retreat and I had to move a few training days around and sacrifice one in order to make it work. It was also bittersweet… more on that later.
Monday 10/7 – 4 miles easy. My calves were still tight so I took a less-strenuous route. I probably should have gone slower. Avg. Pace 10:16. Elevation Gain: 286ft
Wednesday 10/9 – 5 miles easy. I decided to start a little earlier. Getting out of bed was the tough part since I barely fell asleep that night. I bought a cheap headlamp to help with the darkness. It was drizzly out and I appreciated the light — especially on the uneven surfaces. The headlamp became heavy and I had to take it on and off in order to be comfortable. I took the “big hill” route and I’m getting pretty comfortable running this route. Avg. Pace 10:30. Elevation Gain: 463ft.
Thursday – Skipped.
Friday – 9 miles steady. I had to start late for this run since my husband was out of town. I dropped the kids off at my parents, headed to mass and ran immediately after, right out of the parking lot. I don’t know that it was a good idea seeing that I only had a half of a Clif bar and tea that morning. Plus, I fasted 1 hour before the eucharist. I eventually ate a little more of the Clif bar and started my run at 9am. I took it real easy. I even went on a bathroom break at the supermarket. The worst part were the two big uphill climbs towards the end. It’s brutal when your nose is drippy and it’s getting warm (I was a lady and brought a tissue. No snot rockets here.) Avg. Pace 10:53. Elevation Gain: 733ft.
TOTAL: 18 miles
Thoughts about last week’s run:
- I’ve been running these hills for a while now but I think I’m getting the hang of being consistent when going up hill. I notice that my pace doesn’t dramatically change when I head up.
- Going uphill means you’ll eventually go downhill. There is a technique to running downhill without getting injured. I’m becoming a pro at this – it’s the best part about my training.
- Wednesday’s run was bittersweet. You know how I write down people’s names on my hand and pray for them while I run? Well my whole run on Wednesday was dedicated to my parish and pastor. An arsonist tried to burn down our church on Tuesday night. I didn’t get much sleep after hearing the news. The church is like a second home to me. I find peace and comfort when I go to daily mass (sometimes more so than Sunday services).
Thankfully the arsonist was arrested a few days after the incident. He left a lot of destruction in the sanctuary but among the ashes were miracles. True miracles. My faith is still strong — if not stronger now.
I can’t help but wonder if I’ve ever encountered the arsonist during my runs. I’ve gotten to know a few people (at least by face) and say “hi” to everyone I meet. He was arrested not too far from the church, which happens to be along one of my routes.
- Friday’s 9 mile run ended on a high note. As I ran back into the church parking lot, I saw two people carrying out the statue of the Blessed Mother which was in an alcove that was set on fire. It is the only white statue in the whole church. It looked pristine from a distance and was partially covered in fabric as they carried it. What I found out later was that the statue was left unscathed. No burn marks, no damage — even though the fire blazed about 1 foot away from it. I hear about these things all the time, but this is the first time that I’ve seen it with my own eyes… and it being so close to home.
This week I’m thankful. I’m thankful for my health. I’m thankful that no one was hurt in the fire and that the whole church didn’t burn down. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to grow stronger in faith and closer to others in our community.
I don’t run for “fun.” Believe me, running is NOT FUN. It’s a physical, mental, and spiritual challenge. What I love is that I get to know people just at a quick glance and put a smile on their face when I greet them. I love planning new routes and discovering places that I would have never wandered. I love seeing the beauty of the sunrise, admiring the grace of a hawk circling over my head, and the scent of a hot breakfast floating through the air in the morning. I love the physical sacrifice I offer for others when I have them in prayer during my run. It keeps me motivated when I feel like giving up. Most of all, I love basking in God’s blessings all around me.
That’s why I run.