I can’t tell you how many tearful discussions I had with Adam about whether or not I would race. At one point, he volunteered to take my bib since Fisher House is an organization that he supports as well. He was supportive but also provided a bit of tough love. One night when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by training for another marathon when my heart and brain were screaming “Don’t do it!”, he pulled out his yearbook (he attended a service academy). He spent a minute flipping the pages and then stopped on some photos. Our conversation went something like this…
“You see that guy? He had a wedding planned. And this guy? He was engaged.”
I whispered, “are they dead?”
He didn’t answer my question but continued, “And this girl? They found out she was pregnant when they did an autopsy.”
I sat there quiet. I simply didn’t have any words that would do the conversation justice. These men and women died so young and quickly, according to Adam. There was no opportunity for medical intervention back in the states at a medical treatment facility. Their families didn’t have a chance to fly in to hold their hand while they sat in a hospital room. In these cases, there simply was no need for Fisher House. But for so many service members, it provides an incredible service for their families during a time of medical need. And once again, I was reminded why I was running. Not for me, but for uniformed service members and their families who need Fisher House.
I also finally came to grips with the fact that Marine Corps Marathon will not be a PR attempt for me. Sure, I’ll work hard so that I’m well prepared for the race. This is the shortest marathon training cycle I’ll undertake and also the most aggressively that I will ramp up my mileage. I need to focus on staying healthy, rather than speed both for my sanity and to avoid injury. I also decided that I would transition back to run-walk, which provided an enormous mental relief. All of a sudden, the long runs were palatable and I’ve had one or two that felt incredible.
Last weekend, I committed to build a training plan that would get me enough miles but not burn me out. I included hill and speed work on alternating weeks with a few tempo and progression runs thrown in. I’ve done two consecutive weeks of hill work on the treadmill and it feels great. It’s hard but I know my legs need that workout to be prepared for the hills of Rosslyn, Rock Creek parkway, and Crystal City.
If you're interested in contributing to my fundraising effort, check out my fundraising page here: ChristineSuter.