Monday, August 30, 2010

Having the Runs

The month of August has been chock full of runs. Runs of all kinds. We have had runs in the rain, runs in the sweltering heat. We run in the early mornings and sometimes we run at night. We have had runs that turn into walks, and runs that turn into sprints. We have run in California, Bear Lake, Park City, Morgan and Logan.

And then there are the other kind of runs. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say that this month I got hit with the worst kind of sick I have ever had. I still have no idea what brought it on, but I never had so much quality bathroom time in my life. I didn't eat for three days, and I lost enough weight that women in my ward said I looked "frail" and that my clothes "hung off me". Those runs were awful. Miserable. Yucky. But I will move on to detail more exciting, if equally miserable, runs.

On August 7, Wade and I ran the Jupiter's Peak 16 mile trail run. This was our first long long long distance race, and we really did try to train well for it. We ran it with my brother Ben who was in town from Philadelphia. What kind of a family bonds by racing up a 3000 foot elevation change spread over 8 miles, and then runs all the way back down again, beating their respective knees into the steep dirt trails? We are really going to have to think of alternative means of entertainment.

{Since we all had synchronized brain farts and didnt bring a camera, we have no pictures of this event, so enjoy this pic of random guys struggling up the peak. Oh, we did kiss at the summit though. And by we, I mean Wade and I. Just to clarify.}

The thing that made this race even better was that, unbeknownst to us, this race is run primarily by very elitist runners. It should have been obvious; how many people do you know that run to the highest peak in Park City for fun? Needless to say, Wade and I were a little out of place with our cotton T-shirts and generic running shorts. We didnt have the sleek running gear, just our race tags pinned to our shirts and our farmers tans. We got quite a few looks, and some even commented on the fact that this was obviously our first race, our cotton T-shirts being a dead give away. We joked afterwards that we were definitely the orphan children of such a posh crowd, and we sure looked the part.

So we were outclassed, and even out ran by a few elderly people who looked deceivingly feeble. Yeah, there were quite a few old grandma ladies who beat us a by a good 15 minutes! Ben outran us by 40 minutes, but ended up with the biggest blisters I have ever seen all over his feet. Poor guy. Our final time was 3 hours and 26 minutes, which averaged about to be a little less than a 13 minute mile. Not great. But I was just happy to finish with our marriage still in tact--I can be a very grumpy runner, and Wade wasn't feeling overly cheerful either.

As we limped to our car, I told Wade to never again let me talk us into something so stupid ever again. Ever.

{Just in case you want to see how crazy this run really is, and sign up to run it next year!}

Two weeks later we found ourselves waiting for a port-a-potty with five minutes to go until the Top of Utah Half Marathon was to start. Wade and I had planned to run this race months ago because we wanted to do something to remember Ava by. It seemed fitting because we both feel that she demonstrated such endurance and patience. She taught us that we can do hard things.

And it was hard. My knee was injured, we didnt get a lot of sleep, and didnt train hardly at all since we ran Jupiter's Peak.

I always learn something when I run, and this race re-taught me to forget about comparing myself to others; just do what I need to do how I need to do it. It is so easy for me to get discouraged when some tiny little girl with horrible form and a tiny stride passes me up, or when I hear the wheezing old man behind me gaining. It makes me just want to quit. I almost just stop dead in my tracks because I feel so discouraged. But my run is about me. It is about my stride, my attitude, my will. Yeah, I finally learned that at mile 12.

{So sweaty.}

{I am glad that we have a picture outside of this house, since this was Ava's home while she was here).

{I really dont know what I am smiling about. I felt like poo.}

{My sweet husband stayed with me the entire time, though he surely could have outraced me. He kept saying that we had overcome everything else as a team, so we would run the race as a team too.}

Even though I am being a Negative Nancy in this post, the truth is that these runs are not all bad. In fact, there were parts of them that were inspiring and exhilarating. And as I sit here typing this, I realize that life is like that too. A lot of struggle, but there is joy in the journey if I can look for it.

I am very ready to take a break from distance training. It will feel so good to run a measly three miles tonight. I will relish it. Overall though, I would do these runs all over again. (Well, not the nasty bathroom run part.) But I think that doing these hard things have helped me become better. I will keep running, and keep looking to my baby girl to show me how to do hard things with strength and grace.

~Love you Avalee Grace!~


  1. You are awesome. That is all.

  2. congrats on all the runs. That is quite the accomplishment. I hope to be running soon and doing some long runs. You two are so cute and so supportive of each other. Hope all is well.

  3. Way to go you! I think it is great you and Wade ran together. There is something beautiful and symbolic about that. Go team Stewart! :)

  4. Your little family is an inspiration to our little family. :) Much love!