These days, my life can be categorized into running and non-running moments. And in those non-running times, I’m usually thinking about running. Sure, I have other things going on…work, studying for my personal trainer’s exam, but running really is at the heart of my life.
Last Sunday I ran 17.2 miles. It was difficult, fun, painful and exhilarating all at once. I wanted to do 18, but I really couldn’t get any more mileage out of myself, so I was happy with how far I went. This is not to say I didn’t have moments (many of them!) when I had to talk myself in to keep running. Oh how I wanted to just stop and go home… but I knew that I must keep going.
Spending so much time focused on running has helped me learn a few things about myself. Even at my ripe old age I can still discover interesting things I didn’t know. Most things are fairly trivial but then sometimes I realize something earth shattering and I want to tell the world. Of course, no one else really cares, so I smile to myself and carry on.
Over these past months I’ve often wondered if I was still a good enough athlete to run a marathon. Sure, I could accomplish running a couple halfs, but those can be faked, I saw plenty of non-runners do that at the Giants Race in August. A marathon though, separates the real from the false, the honest from the liars. You can fake 26.2 miles, especially if you’re going to run most of them. And I had started to doubt whether I could do it again, after 28 years. The one time I ran a marathon, I wasn’t prepared, it was painful; it was one of the least enjoyable experiences in my life. I never want to repeat that again.
But with the logging of miles, the testing of different brands of socks, the shaving of legs, the tears of exhaustion comes a little confidence and a bit of understanding.
“Sure, I’m not there yet, but I know I will get there.”
I said that to myself last night when I ran a delightful 4.5 miles. I knew that somehow I would do it.
Smile and carry on.