Thursday, December 1, 2011

Final Marathon Musings

I was working from home today so I had wanted to get this post out early this morning but when I woke up the Internet wasn't working and then I had real work to do so I had to go somewhere to do it but then Comcast sent someone over and before you know it, I had just spent the last three hours with the Comcast technician talking about jobs, life, cancer, his three-year stint in the Navy, fatherhood, dogs with giant balls, and our own realizations about finding true happiness. Heavy shit, man.

I would like you all to picture this going down while we both sat Indian-style on my living room carpet while occasionally hitting refresh on my Internet home screen and sometimes plugging and unplugging something. I'm no fan of Comcast, but by mid-afternoon I was giving my new friend Dave a hug and wishing all of his family a very happy holidays season, especially his children, all of whom I know by name. And viola! I have Internet once again. Thank you for your magic wires, Dave from Comcast. I'll spend a morning on the floor hitting refresh for you any day.

Anyway. With the marathon now a few weeks behind me, I've had some time to reflect. I may have missed my goal but I still ran a relatively respectable time, which was my fastest to date. And even though I do still kind of wish I'd just gone ahead and peed my pants, I've let that self-loathing wash down the drain with the leftover pickle juice that I couldn't convince B to finish drinking even though I made it VERY enticing. To his credit, he sure did try.

Unlike this time last year, I'm completely injury free and I'm not walking like someone with a gigantic pole stuck up their ass, so that's a total plus too. Because we all know I get a little ... hard to live with ... when I can't lace up a pair of sneaks and pound out my mildly psychotic tendencies on the pavement.

By the Thursday after the marathon, Thanksgiving, I was back out running, albeit very slowly. The next day I went a little further. And further the next day. And one week later I am feeling completely recovered. Without the pressure of trying to achieve a certain time at a race hanging over my head, I am back out running for the pure love of running again. Minus one toenail.

I found running the way most people find religion. I grew up with it. And ironically, it was in avoiding religion that I truly made it my own. When I was in high school, I discovered that it took me approximately the same time to run six miles as it did to sit through a Catholic mass. So on Sunday mornings I'd assure my parents I was on my way to church, slip outside in my running shoes and go for a spin. In college, I became even more religious with my running (see what I did there?) since I no longer had a track team to keep me in shape. I found the half-marathon. A few years after college came the marathon. And since then it's been a never-ending challenge of longer, faster, stronger, and not peeing my pants. And let me tell you something, I promise you that you are forced to make just as much if not more peace with yourself, your life, and your god on any long, hard training run than you would in a pew. As Christopher McDougall wrote, "If you don't have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain't getting them." And as Bridget Horne wrote, "oh my god I'm going to pee my pants."

Even though I hate it, I absolutely love the marathon. The months leading up to a marathon, I begin to obsess over it more and more, until it finally takes up whatever space is left in my brain that isn't thinking about food. And then that's about all I think about until race day. Marathon and food. My memory starts to go. I forget entire conversations I've had with people and for once, it's not because of those three martinis I had last night. It's like a constantly ticking clock in my brain until finally I'm so excited to run the marathon for the mere fact that I can stop thinking about running the marathon.

And of course, during the marathon, typically between miles 22 and 25, I swear off marathons for the rest of my life. I despair over the fact that I am still moving my legs and I have to continue to put one foot in front of the other for how many more miles? Four? Oh, Jesus Christ. NEVER AGAIN. By the next morning, I'm usually scanning the Internet for the next opportunity to run another 26.2 miles.

And then there's the fact that it seems like such a shame to spend all those months training for just one morning of running, don't you think? Might as well take advantage of this peak fitness. That's exactly how I convinced myself to run a 50k trail run in January. Because if 26.2 miles hasn't made me cry yet, why not shoot for 31?! B is taking this current news as a serious sign that I have officially "fallen over that ledge." It'll be great!

And finally this has nothing to do with running but I received a couple emails yesterday asking me if I do in fact dance around my house in my underwear singing songs into a spatula. Let's not be ridiculous. I use a wooden spoon. And good thing Dave from Comcast wasn't early, because I had the music turned up to 11 while I was making soup this morning.


Deidre said...

Wow, your run in with the comcast guy went so much better than my last one (he awkwardly hit on me and then left the wrong wires at my house to hook up the internet).

I agree with B, you've fallen off the edge.

Marcus Grimm said...

When people ask where I go to church, I tell them the Church of the Long Run. I've also noticed that if you compare the quality of the person I am after church with the quality of the person I am after a long run, well, there really is no comparison.

You'll love the 50k. Different scene than the marathon... lower stress, more fun, etc.

ɹǝƃƃolquǝʞoʇ said...

Friendly internet guys are just awesome.

Good luck on your next run!


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