fiftytwo to 371

there are only 52 days until I take my first step of hundreds of thousands during my Run Across Haiti.  One kilometer roughly equals 1,320 steps.  Doing the math, that means after completing 371km I will have taken roughly 508,270 steps.  That makes my feet hurt and my heart pound just thinking about it.  I decided to start documenting my training for these last 7 weeks to share with anyone who cares, and wants to feel inspired.  And ultimately, it allows me to tangibly work through the oh so real struggles and successes I’m facing on a daily, okay… lets be serious, on a minute basis.

for anyone who is reading this and learning about the Run Across Haiti for the first time, I, along with 39 other runners from Team Tassy, are running across Haiti to raise money to create dignified jobs for our Haitian family members.  We are running to show that Haiti is not a place to be feared or pitied.  It is a place with unbelievable strength and beauty that we have the power to reveal.  Every step we take is creating change. A movement.  A way out of poverty.  This run hits home for me because I was given the chance to meet our family members in Haiti this past summer.  A chance I never thought could be possible.  Mike, I am so grateful for you and your kindness.

i’ll post the link to my running page here if anyone wants to learn more: https://www.crowdrise.com/brandys-run-across-haiti-2017

the run consists of 8 consecutive days.
Day 1: 28 miles – 45km
Day 2: 15 miles – 24km
Day 3: 18 miles – 29km
Day 4: 34 miles – 55km
Day 5: 19 miles – 30.5km
Day 6: rest day
Day 7: 29 miles – 47km
Day 8: 56.97 miles – 92km

i’ll give you a moment to swallow the lump in your throat as I do the same.  Daunting, isn’t it?

i’m a goal setter. A goal digger. However you want to call it. I love the fear that is undeniable when setting a goal so big, that it makes people think you are crazy for even thinking it could be done.  I love pushing my body past its limit.  It goes so far beyond just the physical for me – it challenges my mind and the confidence I have in myself that I can achieve what most people may think is impossible.

no matter how many marathons I’ve done, there is nothing that can prepare me for this ultramarathon across the country of Haiti.  I went into this training wanting to be the best conditioned I’ve ever been for a race.  I started training in May of this year, increasing my confidence as I completed 2 long runs a weekend, and “mini” runs as I like to call them throughout the week, ending my weekly mileage around 70-80km.  Waking up at 4am to get my long run in every Saturday and Sunday became second nature to me.  It became something I wanted to do. I would eat my oatmeal and go back to bed for an hour to digest before the long run ahead of me.  I had such a fire in me, and still do.  But the road has been far from easy.

i held a fundraiser at lululemon in November.  It was a 12 hour runathon that raised over $1,000 for our family members, something I will forever be grateful for.  I ended up running 61km on a treadmill, with a team of runners tagging me off (thank god) to let me eat and rest.  But those 61km was taxing on my body and I ended up with a calf strain just 3 days later that took me out of running for 3 and a half weeks.  Injury.  Something no athlete wants to ever hear.  I’m knocking on wood as I type that word.  Injury, I’ve learned, is always a way of your body telling you to slow down when your mind wont.  With much stubbornness that my boyfriend can attest to, I eventually listened to my body and focused on training on the bike, in the pool, and focused on keeping my strength up in the gym while my calf took the time it needed to heal.

3 and a half weeks later without lacing up, I’m back on the road. With zero pain. Hallelujah.  I wanted to test my cardiovascular endurance and proudly did a half marathon in -16 degree weather.  I felt strong, and relieved my calf and lungs were cooperating.  Just two weeks later, I was plagued with the flu and laryngitis that resulted after my final exams in nursing school and carried through into Christmas.  What gives! I was on such a roll with my training and diligently crossing off each training run on my calendar. Stress and the pressure to be physically, mentally, and emotionally conditioned is what ultimately backfired. What I’m learning after each day that passes, is that training for something like this is more mental than anything. You can’t train for something like this without feeling discouraged at one point or another or feeling setback.  It’s inevitable.  But these setbacks are just opportunities for me to train my mind a little harder.  My mind and my heart is what will get me through each day I’m in Haiti, my body is just the vehicle from point A to point B.

the support I have throughout all of this is invaluable.  I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am for the donations I’ve received.  I’m fortunate to have such a supportive family that pushes me closer towards my goals and never questions me when I choose to run when it’s snowing on Christmas Day.  Running is and will always be who I am.  My work family, my nursing family, my closest friends and boyfriend:  on long runs I think of all of you.  I think of my boyfriend, Brody, and my friend Quinn who will be in Haiti on the support crew.  Every time my garmin vibrates and tells me I’m at a 5km checkpoint, I think of seeing their faces among the chaos of traffic, and the pain I’ll likely be in. I’m going to search for your faces for that feeling of familiarity and a comforting piece of home.

all of you are a part of my journey.  A journey that is teaching me a new lesson everyday. I’m doing this and putting my body through physical and mental angst to give our Haitian family members a chance at a life away from poverty.  A chance is all I need to keep going.  Every km I run is dedicated to all of them.  I’ve accepted that my training isn’t how I envisioned.  But I’ve also discovered how big the fire really is within me and I’m no where near slowing down.

 

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