Well, the cat’s out of the bag.* The jig is up. The beans are spilled. (Okay, I’m out of word play…)
I’m running the Philly Marathon in two weeks.
At least, I’m pretty sure that I am.
Three months ago, I was eagerly awaiting a post-Untamed break. I had been racing and training nearly continuously for 20 months, and my body and my mind were feeling burnt out.
And then came that amazing race.
And the post-race excitement that tricks you into thinking you can’t wait for the next one.
And the realization that other than the Shag, I had nothing planned for the fall.
And the lingering feeling that a BQ is in reach, if I only put in the time and effort.
I thought it would be fun. I thought it would be “easy,” compared to juggling the multi-discipline training of adventure racing. I thought that the structure of an actual training plan would be a relief, sort of like studying for the Bar after several wishy-washy months of reading hundreds of books in preparation for my doctoral preliminary exams. You just check things off a list, and you’ll be ready.
And then I started my new job, and the post-race fatigue set in, and I began logging 160-mile round-trip commutes and sleeping in North Jersey one night a week.
It’s been a rough training cycle, probably the hardest I’ve ever had. I adopted a minimalist plan and barely managed to get in the long runs, the tempo workouts, and the intervals.
Most of my targeted workouts took at least two attempts to complete. Some of them fell short of expectations. I didn’t write about it because I didn’t want to pressure of having to perform.
I wasn’t kidding when I said that I haven’t been feeling like a runner as of late.
This morning, I fought my way through 10 miles of a planned 15-mile run, and left for work convinced that I was pulling out of the race.
I emailed Brent when I got to my office and told him about my morning. I was ready to cry uncle (well, really, just ready to cry).
And then I got his response:
I totally hear what you’re saying. I’d go for it, though. You’re ready for it. A week or two ago, you tried a long run on Saturday and realized that doesn’t work for you. Yesterday it just fell apart. I don’t think you always respond well when the plan falls apart, so I’m not surprised that you didn’t feel it today. You’ve had to make a major adjustment this fall with scheduling, so it’s been tough. I wouldn’t get discouraged with yourself because of that, though it is totally understandable. At this point, you might as well just relax and run it for fun. Run it for Philly. Run it and have fun with those of us who come out to support you. You have put in a fair bit of time, maybe not as organized as you want, and not without its bumps along the way, but you have. I’d say, take a shot at Boston and see what happens. Race day may come and you may not feel good. Or you may have a great day and finally get this monkey off your back. I’d say, just try to relax, give yourself a pat on the back as you HAVE worked hard for it, and don’t worry about the bad days; you’ve had some good ones too. We all have them. If you feel strong, I have faith that you can qualify next week. You’re paid, you’re registered, and a break awaits after it, so why not just get it done? Take care of yourself, baby yourself when it comes to sleeping, eating and stretching, and see what happens.
My favorite cheerleader (I just have to remember not to open said cheerleader’s emails when other people are around – they have a tendency to make me choke up).
So, I’m back in the game. Ready for the race. Ready to go into it and see what happens. And ready for the satisfaction of finishing Marathon #9 and for welcoming the eagerly anticipated post-race break.
Thirteen days and counting…
*I didn’t tell Natalie to put the Ph.D. next to my name in that article – it made me giggle to see it!