It appears that I will be running a marathon next week.
As in, seven days from now. Crazy, right? I mean, who knew!? I guess I did…but just barely. I can say – quite confidently – that this will NOT be my fastest marathon, and in fact, it might be my slowest. Here are the two things that I know for sure: I will finish, and it will hurt. A lot.
It’s an odd feeling, to be so aloof about the whole 26-point-2-miles thing. I can barely remember to check my training schedule to see how many miles to run. My running partner would ask me about my long run for the following week, and I would have to look it up, because I just had no idea what was next. I certainly didn’t do any of that new-fangled ‘speed training’ that all the cool kids are doing.
I’ve just been toodling along, at a nice easy pace. The weirdest part of this situation – I am totally at peace with the potential outcome. It has been refreshing to not be obsessed with charts, graphs, numbers, calculations and predictions. I hardly look at my watch during a run, and when I do, it’s usually just to make sure that it is operating correctly and that I actually pressed ‘start.’
In the past, I’ve tried to keep my training focused and intentional, in order to improve my overall performance. I was determined to complete every workout exactly the way it was written on the schedule. I meticulously recorded all the data from my runs, and analyzed every number on the page. I compared pace per mile over the same course for a period of weeks. I researched prior race times well in advance of the current race, and determined my goal pace, visualized my race plan and then worked hard to execute it.
But this year has been different. I’ve been dealing with a tremendous loss, and coping with some additional stress. It been a crazy year, emotionally draining, leaving me feeling physically depleted. I’ve had to dig extra deep for the slightest whisper of something resembling motivation.
I’m slowly discovering the new “normal” and I’m learning to be gentle with myself. Admittedly, I have not had to endure as much as others, but for me…this year has been a test of my limits. The finish line will come whenever it does, and I’ll be grateful for the opportunity to cross it again.