Friday, May 22nd was just another day for me. I went to work, I ate a doughnut on break, I joked around with my boss, and I went to the gym after work. I was on the phone with my Dad as I pulled into the parking lot, and I remember telling him “I’ll call you back in about 30 minutes. I’m going to do my mile and maybe a few minutes on the stair master.”
I entered the gym, which was deserted because it was early on a Friday afternoon. There were some nice women in the locker room, we chatted as I changed clothes. I walked out to the floor and as I climbed on the treadmill, the song “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert played in my head. I don’t know why, but I turned that song on repeat instead of shuffling through my workout playlist like I normally do.
I began running, and the first time I looked down I had already run .1 mile. I was impressed with myself. Normally I was already feeling the burn. I kept running, for some reason I didn’t feel the need to stop for water at .25 mile as I normally do. The running continued, I was making myself take a drink at .5 mile when I got this crazy idea… “Maybe I can run more than one mile today.” I considered it briefly. I was still new to my daily mile runs, and most of the time I had to focus all my energy on not dying. I had never tried to run more than a mile at a time, and I hadn’t yet even started working on increasing my speed.
Nonetheless, I couldn’t ignore the facts. My stamina was significantly heightened, as well as my endurance. I wasn’t gasping for breath or praying the distance meter would move faster. Even still, the idea that I could possibly push myself for more than a mile was astounding. I mentally made a resolution to myself – Just do what you can. Don’t kill yourself. Do what your body will let you do.
From that point on, I was limitless. I focused on my footing, I kept tabs on my breathing. I payed extra attention to my left knee and hip, which both give me trouble from time to time. Before I knew it, a mile had passed. A mile and a half. Two miles. Two and a half miles. Three miles. At three miles it sank in – I ACTUALLY JUST RAN THREE MILES! I was ecstatic. A few happy tears ran down my face as I pushed even harder. I was fiercely sweating, something I normally don’t do. I could see the perspiration soaking through the fabric across my chest. I knew I was going to have to quit soon, and I decided 4 miles would be my stopping point for the day. I increased my speed as I prepared to run my last mile. The gym was filling up, and everyone who checked in looked at me. I was running my ass off, sweating like a maniac, and I felt great.
I stopped my treadmill at 4 miles, with a time of 57 minutes and 30 seconds. I ran the first three miles at the speed 4.2, and the last mile at 4.3. I finished my run and I felt like I was on top of the world. I had a certain pep in my step as I walked back to the locker room. I gathered my stuff and left, I immediately called my Dad and said “You’re never gonna believe this, but I just ran four miles.” I only had time to call him and my Aunt Lila before the nausea hit me.
I actually had to pull into a McDonalds on the way home because I thought I was going to vomit. My spit was flowing out from my mouth like water. I was weak, dizzy. It passed and I drove the rest of the way home. My sister came outside to help me carry my bags in, because I didn’t know if I would physically be able. I made my way to the bathroom and crouched by the toilet, but wasn’t nauseous anymore. I picked up my things and went into the living room to greet everyone, which was when the next wave of nausea hit me. I ran to the restroom and barely pulled the lid up before I started projectile vomiting. Luckily I was still on a mostly liquid diet, so I wasn’t too labored.
Feeling better, I went into the living room and decided to make dinner. As it cooked, I started feeling worse and worse. I drank water while I could, knowing that I desperately needed to rehydrate. By the time the food was ready, I could barely hold my head up. I literally forced myself to eat, one bite at a time. Each bite I forced made me nauseous and was a struggle to get down. I made it through my bowel and a half hour later I was back to myself.
In retrospect, I do not regret running four miles. I do regret not immediately rehydrating myself, and not eating more throughout the day to fuel my run. I have decided not to try to run four miles every single day. Once a month, maybe. For now, I will stick to a two-mile run daily and focus on improving my time for two miles.
I didn’t know when I walked into the gym Friday that I’d be running four miles. Never in my life did I think I’d be able to run two, let alone three. Four? It never even crossed my mind. I can’t tell you why I had so much energy that day, or why my breathing was controlled from the start or what made me power through and actually complete a nonstop four mile run. All I can tell you is that it was worth it. I shattered a goal I never even knew I had. Sure I was sick that night, of course I was sore the next day. But it was completely worth every single step.
I already know what happens when I give up. I want to see what will happen if I don't.