Yesterday my sister and I took a final spin around the neighborhood before the race on Sunday: 4 miles.
"Just four miles!" We said to one another as we put on our shoes and headed out the door. The sun was shining. The kids were napping. This'll be easy! Fun, even!
I couldn't have been more wrong.
A mile in my legs started aching. My mouth was dry. I was struggling.
Bewildered, I shouted out "WHY DO I FEEL SO CRAPPY?" It was only four miles. What. The. Heck. Why were my legs so heavy? Why did I feel so slow?
My sister replied: "Tough week, Manda. It's been crazy."
And she's right. Syd came down with a fever last Sunday, which quickly developed into a cough, which robbed her of sleep and her appetite and finally when I took her to urgent care on Wed. after the temperature wouldn't abate and she wasn't getting any better and they diagnosed her with pneumonia in her left lung you could have knocked me over with a feather.
She started to get back to her old self Thursday night. But her body is all thrown off because she's not doing her usual activities and is taking these monster 4-hour naps, so she hasn't fallen asleep until past 9 pm the last two nights.
My family is in town visiting (and my mom and sister are running the half with me!), and John has been working around the clock making the final preparations for the race weekend. I've been on parental duty around the clock for nearly two weeks. I'm the one getting up in the night pretty much every night. I'm the one holding Sydney down and squirting medicine down her throat, taking her temperature, fetching her popsicles, all of it.
So to say that I'm "worn out" would be the understatement of the century. I can't remember the last time I had any time to myself. As the race approaches TOMORROW it couldn't have been a worse time for me to bonk on my last "easy" run. Mentally I just feel so done right now. For the first time on Friday I looked at my sister and wondered out loud, "I hope I can do this."
Guys? On Saturday I ran 10.57 miles and felt GREAT! I was like, BAM! I just OWNED you ten miles!! And now a crappy little four mile run has me totally bent out of shape. I went to bed last night with aching legs. I limped around all afternoon as if I'd busted out 8 minute miles (I hadn't. Not even close). All of this time I've been training I've felt amazing. I can only remember one other discouraging run, and I was pushing a stroller that time.
Right now? I really want to quit. But you know why I can't?
Because YOU GUYS have supported me in this run. Because I'm not running for myself or to meet some little goal I've arbitrarily set for myself.
My fundraising total for the half marathon I'm running tomorrow stands at $1077.40. That represents 21 people in Africa who now have clean water. And that's not because I've done anything great or have run some great training runs or even because I'm running this stupid race tomorrow in my orange shirt. It's because YOU care. It's because YOU gave. It's because YOU wanted to help someone and you freaking went for it.
And so? With my aching legs I will get up at 4 o'clock tomorrow morning. I will put on my orange shirt and I will pin on my race bib and I will go for it. I might bonk again. It might take me four hours. BUT I DO NOT CARE. Because I know that somewhere out there, you guys are rooting for me. You're praying for Africa. You cared enough to do something to help someone who needed help.
And that's what matters, here in the home stretch. That's all that really matters.
I'll see you at the starting line.
p.s. It's not too late!! You can still help! Remember, $50 provides one person with the clean water they need to live FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE. Any amount helps, and we can partner together to get this done. I will run the miles. YOU will get a free recycled t-shirt scarf! Kids in Africa will get clean water. We all win!