17 miles

I have thinking a lot about this lately and felt it was appropriate to put into words. 

Besides the actual marathon itself, there has been one distance I’ve run that was life changing during marathon training. It was 17 miles. 

That date was June 16, 2016.  I was about a month and a half into my four months of marathon training. 

If you look closely you can see that my eyes are more puffy and red than usual. 

That’s because I started crying immediately after finishing running. “Quiet Uptown” from Hamilton started playing right at the end of my run. I was in an emotional frenzy. I battled through the end of the run and was so glad to not stop on my Garmin. I remember thinking “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. Why am I doing this?  I CAN’T DO THIS. I AM NOT A MARATHON RUNNER. I CANNOT ACHIEVE THIS GOAL.”

I was so so so grateful no one was around for my meltdown. 

In that moment I allowed myself to have a meltdown. It’s important not to dismiss your feelings right away when they are real ones.  Then in that moment I had a pep talk with myself. I said self, you either figure out how to get through these exhausting, fatiguing moments and this scary part of race training, or you go home and you email the race director and request a downgrade to the half marathon. 

It was a moment where I really understood this quote. 


17 miles will always resonate as the hardest run I’ve ever done. Mentally, it was a battle I was afraid I could not win. I fought hard. For hours. And hours. And I came out the other side a little stronger than when I went in. 

This moment has been on my mind lately for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest ones is that I have really been itching to say it but have not been sure how to say it or who to say it to. But I’ve found the little voice inside of me to confess it. 

I am setting a new goal to qualify and run Boston. 

This is a lofty goal. I’m not saying when it will happen, but I’ve been thinking in my heart about who I am and where I see myself in the future.  And as a current 6+ hour marathon finisher, I am afraid of this goal. I know it will take years of focus and hard work. But I also know that when I sat on the curb on June 16, 2016 and cried and decided that everything I ever wanted was on the other side of my fears and self doubt, I realized that I can achieve absolutely anything I put my mind to, in due time. 

17 mile training run made me stronger.  I’m ready to use that strength and power forward to be an amazing individual. 

-Vanessa 

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