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Just What The Doctor Ordered: A Pep Talk From My Dad

The flu kicked my butt last week, and it's still hanging on in the form of a cough that is making running nearly impossible. I was registered for the National Half Marathon in DC this past Saturday, but I didn't even make it to the start line. Instead, I slept in and attempted to run for 30 minutes on my own. My legs felt fine, they could have done more, but my head and chest were exploding. I had to stop every ten feet, or so, to hack up nastiness. (Good thing I'm an ace spitter.)

I'm physically exhausted and mentally shot. Not only did I not get the chance to race this weekend, I wasn't able to add on extra miles and complete my final 18-miler before Boston either. I don't know how to get back into my training schedule and I'm nervous that I won't be ready for the marathon.

Friday night I burst into tears explaining all of this to my dad. (Seen here in the traffic-cone-colored hat. He was easy to spot in the crowds at the Marine Corps Marathon last October.) He made me realize that just because I wasn't going to have a half marathon under my belt before race day, I'd still be able to tackle the course in Boston. "You might need to rely on intestinal fortitude—guts, to get you to the finish," says Dad. "But you're going to finish, my girl."

You're not really supposed to “gut out” a race. If you're well prepared and you put in the training, race day should feel tough but not unbearable. But when a former Army Ranger (this guy used to jump out of airplanes for a living!) tells you to dig deep and make it happen, well that's what you do.

I'm easing back into running this week. And I'm just going to have to trust in the base miles that I've already got in my legs and the strength of my intestines to get me through the final 26.2.

Countdown to the Boston Marathon: 20 days!

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