This is the first in an eight-week diary series following 28-year-old Amy Compston — a fulltime nurse, wife and mother of four — during her preparation for the Boston Marathon.
MONDAY: I praise God for his awesomeness. One year ago today, I completed my first marathon. I can truly see how in just one year God has matured me as a runner but, most importantly, spiritually. He has opened doors and given me opportunities I never imagined. I praise him for his strength he provides in our weakness. Last week I ran nearly 55 miles while battling strep throat. Praise God for modern medicine. I got an antibiotic shot and felt much better within 12 hours and was able to run 12 miles.
Today, three days after receiving the medicine, I still felt weak during my 10-miler. I keep repeating 2 Corinthians 12. I actually ran one of my best 10 milers. It took 1:16:03, about a 7:36 per mile average and that included nine big hills! This is my “easy” week. I only have about 50 miles to complete. Real “easy.”
TUESDAY: The word to describe this run … windy! Yes, the wind was strong and had a good chill to it. Good run though; short five miles at 6:53 pace. Felt good except for the occasional wind burst. But it may be windy in Boston. So it’s good experience and preparation is the key.
I worked midnights last night, had my 2-year-old today so going on about three hours sleep. I just tell myself it’s preparing me to run through the fatigue of the marathon. God is good and supplies exactly what I need.
WEDNESDAY: I felt tired today at work. Midnight shift last night. Slept good but today I could feel the fatigue setting in. As the miles keep building I can feel the fatigue building but, with all that, I cranked out one of my best 10-milers today, a 7:19 pace. I prayed most of my run. It really helps pass the time and keeps me focused on something rather than “how much longer?’’ Thankful to be done today and injury free!
THURSDAY: Started my day at 4 a.m. with coffee, Bible, then running. Today was a little different, a sprint day. I logged seven miles total but the majority of the run was 7x800 meter sprints at a 6-minute pace. I do these workouts on the treadmill because it’s impossible to slow down. I don’t really enjoy sprinting but it is a necessity. I read in a running book written by a legend that “everyone knows how to run slow, the trick is learning how to run fast.”
My goal with sprint workouts is to teach my body how to run fast for a long time. Today I would sprint a half mile, then jog a quarter mile, and did that for seven miles. I started my day at 4 a.m. because tonight is Disney on Ice with the family. Very excited. Had to get my workout in early because later wasn’t an option.
FRIDAY: Today was a nice easy six miles at a 7:30 pace. I couldn’t go much faster with the ice storm that hit last night. It was as if someone had dumped small ice chunks every 10 feet. Not solid ice but patches and pieces everywhere. The trees were beautifully covered in a sheet of ice. It made me think of how truly beautiful God’s creation is. There was also a rainy mist, which I enjoy to run in.
After the run it was off to the gym for strength training. It’s an essential part of marathon training. Strength training builds your muscle and protects you from injury. The stronger the muscle the less likely you are to have an injury. It also gives you extra reserve during the race when your muscles start to break down. It’s good to have some reserve to stay strong. Enjoyed the run today but glad it’s over.
SATURDAY: I worked last night 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. I came home and slept until 9:30 a.m. I just couldn’t sleep anymore. I was excited about this evening where all the local church choirs were singing at the Paramount. I can’t wait but first must get in 12 miles at race pace. I was shooting for 7:30/mile but halfway through my watch battery died. It was kind of nice though … just enjoying the run. I have been so focused on pace the last few weeks. I think it was God’s way of saying “just take today and enjoy your run.” So I did and pushed but focused more on finishing the miles.
This time of running freely gave me time to focus on what God is trying to tell me. In my Bible study this morning, God really spoke to me. I Timothy 4, 7-10 says: “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training (for me running) is of SOME value; but godliness has value for all things … and for this we labor and strive.” It got me to wondering if I was as focused spiritually as I am on running? Running is only of SOME value but my relationship with Christ is invaluable. I’m laboring and striving to do my best in Boston, putting in mile after mile. Maybe I can learn and strive even more to be exactly what God wants me to be.
SUNDAY: Rest day: The most important and beneficial day of the week.