Photo credit: Mike Baird
There’s a lot to be learned from marathon training, or any other endurance training. I think it makes you more optimistic. And more persistent. More of a believer, because you have to be, to get out day after day and get the miles in.
I’m nine weeks into training, and frankly I’m still feeling a bit…stunned. I ran 37 miles last week (WTF!?!) and while I felt great after my Saturday long run, the next day after yoga class my legs just…stopped. Laying around, eating and feeling my legs throb seemed like a good time to reflect on the first half of training, what I’m learning, what’s driving me, what anyone might take away.
KEEPING YOURSELF HONEST
When I jumped into this in January, I presumed I’d be doing it for a dual purpose: 1) to keep myself honest and disciplined through the winter and 2) to raise funds for a childhood cancer charity. Not necessarily in that order.
As it turns out, it has been great for keeping me honest; crappy winter weather and all, I haven’t missed a single run/workout in the past nine weeks. Many days, I’ve doubled up. I’ve run 187 miles since January 1 and dropped just over 10 pounds – through a combination of the running and nutritional obsessiveness – and yes, I’m damn proud of that. Yet as I’m about to cross the threshold this week between merely crazy-hard and completely batshit (15 miles? At ONCE? Say what?), that just doesn’t seem like enough of a REASON to start running 15, 16, 18, 20 miles at a time. It should, perhaps, but it doesn’t. There has to be more to it.
TELL ME, ARE YOU JUST GETTING BY?
Last year at this time, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping. I sure as hell couldn’t run 5 or 10 or 13 miles. I’ve been “just getting by” for a long, LONG time. There’s a line in the P!nk song “Try” that gets me every time – “When you’re out there doin’ what you’re doin’, tell me, are you just getting by?”
My answer, now? NO. HELL NO. I am NOT just getting by. I am PUSHING. More. Better. Faster. Stronger. Every. Single. Day.
It stupefies me, to be thinking “Sweet, I *only* need to run 10 miles today?” This is SO ridiculously far outside anything I’ve ever pushed myself to do before, that it is absolutely SHATTERING long-held negative perceptions of myself. Not only is it making me more optimistic, it is, in fact, making me BELIEVE THAT I CAN. Maybe – just MAYBE – even that I’m GOOD ENOUGH. *Maybe.*
Life is short, friends. And pushing yourself, in whatever way you wish, feels a hell of a lot better than just getting by. Whether you are an athlete or not, I would say to you: are you just getting by? Think about it. How might you stretch yourself a bit more?
FINDING A HIGHER PURPOSE
I’ll spare you the details of how frustrating it has been the past couple of months, trying to find a childhood cancer cause, or a child, to represent this year. Tenuous relationships, state law, the IRS, politics and PR…all got in the way. Three strikes later, I really thought about giving up, and *just* running for me. But it still felt…hollow. Then, I remembered the perfect answer.
I could not be happier and more proud to share that this year I will be running for Racers Against Childhood Cancer.
Founded in 2007 right here in the Milwaukee area, RACC is a team of runners, riders and triathletes that uses their passion and competitive spirit to raise awareness and money for research and the fight to defeat childhood cancer. The funds raised go to THREE wonderful causes: Cure Search, MACC Fund, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
46 children are told that they have cancer every day. And children’s cancer kills more kids than all other diseases combined. I hope you will join me in this fight; I will share my fundraising page in the days to come.
Not hollow any more.
These next 250+ training miles, and the 26.2, 60 days from now, are for the kids.