July 19, 2010
Believe it or not, I'm eleven days out from running a marathon. This will be my third, and somehow, I keep forgetting that I'm training for this race. Maybe it's the job, or the baby, or the fact that a representative from the electric company came to my door in person to collect my late payment--I just keep getting wrapped up in other things and forgetting that this is supposed to be a big deal.
But the truth is, it's not--not any more anyway. Running used to be a big deal to me.
A very big deal.
Like my happiness, worth, and self-esteem depended completely on my race results.
Thankfully, those days are very much over and done with.
Now, running has turned into something more akin to taking a poo every morning--I just do it. A lot of the time it's completely satisfying, other times it's not, every now and again in takes a whole lot longer than I'd anticipated, but any way it turns out, I keep going back.
There's no other option for a girl like me. If I don't poo, my colon will explode. If I don't run, my brain might explode. Or my marriage, it's hard to tell.
The funny thing about this race is that it has the potential to become a big deal. If I do what I'm hoping to do, and finish under 3:40 (with 59 seconds of wiggle room), then I'll get to run the Boston Marathon. And man oh man, you have no idea how much I want to do that.
It started in 1998, when my mom drove me into Boston and we watched the race at mile 25. We saw the elites, we screamed for the qualified runners, we cheered on the charity runners, and I knew that I absolutely had to run that race someday.
Honestly, every time I picture a digital finishing clock that says 3:40, I have to fight back tears. Every time I picture the finish line at Boston, I can't fight 'em back--I don't even bother trying. I really want to run that race. Really.
Right now, my training for next Friday's marathon is done. I can't go back and make up for the runs I skipped, I can't say no to the fifty desserts I ate during the month of April, and I can't magically give myself the ability to do twenty-five (or two) push-ups. All I can do is look back and remember that I've done two twenty-milers, I did an eighteen miler, a sixteen, two fifteens, a fourteen, a couple of twelves, and two half marathons.
And you know what? As far as I can tell, I'm right on the line--this race could go either way. When I put my last half marathon time into the McMillan Running Calculator, it predicts a marathon finishing time of 3:42:41. Another predictor says I should add 16 seconds per mile to my last half marathon pace, which would give me a marathon finishing time of 3:38.03.
Do you see what I'm saying here? There's no telling how this might turn out.
All I know is that as long as the weather's not brutal, I'm well rested, and my shoes don't fall apart, it'll be close. And you know what? I'm planning to go balls to the walls. What else can I do?
If I qualify, then in retrospect, this race was a big deal. If I don't, then it's not. I'll put another notch in my proverbial belt and try again this fall.
But don't get me wrong here, I'm planning to hit my goal.
I've got to say that training for this marathon has been really, really great. I set a new half marathon PR, I ran a sub-6 mile, Maggie completely loves the jogging stroller, and something insane has happened to my self-esteem along the way. Honestly, if I publicly admit how much I like and love myself, people will talk all kinds of shiz--so I'll just keep quiet.
But here's a little taste...
Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5:30 to get a thirteen miler squared away before church. When I stepped out the front door, it was already hot, so I peeled off my shirt, tucked it into the back of my shorts, and took off. I didn't even think about putting my shirt back on until I came up behind my eighty-year-old neighbor somewhere around mile nine.
Here's the thing--I have stretch marks. Really, really, really bad stretch marks. And even though I'm not overweight, my stomach flab is far beyond epic. But I was hot. So I ran without a shirt. And I didn't care what anyone thought or said about it.
As far as I was concerned, if a stranger was offended by my stomach, we could settle it over a race.
If that's the only thing I get out of this round of marathon training, I'm beyond satisfied.