Am I really ready for this? When I took up running to fill the void left by 18 years of swimming, I figured it would be a few times around campus, a form of exercise, a chore mostly but some time during the stress of graduate school running became a need, a must, and dare I say a pleasure of mine. Then races took shape – first runs, 5Ks, then scary half marathons – but a full marathon was something “crazy people” did and nothing that I would ever be able to accomplish. And yet some how I’m currently packed, tickets printed, and accommodations arranged for a trip to Disney World and the 20th anniversary of the Disney World Marathon, which I’m not just watching but actually running!
The training has taken a long 6 months full of ups and downs, miles logged with amazing friends who pushed and motivated me (Thanks C), and lessons learned about running but more importantly about myself.
First, I learned that I have awful timing or some desire to suffer. This is because I probably choose the worse semester of my PhD to train for a marathon. In the midst of classes, clients, work, research, homework, and trying to have a thing called life, I decided that now would be the best time to add on training for a marathon.
Second, I proved that I’m extremely goal motivated. While volunteering at mile 25 of the Boston marathon my best friend and I discussed how maybe we could run a marathon too and if we were to do that we’d run Disney, and hey while we were planning while don’t we decide on the year – 2013 sounded good! Once it was said out loud, it was happening. Ever since that conversation we’ve planned to run Disney 2013 and since August we’ve stuck (mostly) to our training plan.
Third, I realized that running a marathon is hard. Obviously most would agree with this but oddly their were times when I expected the training to get easier, the long runs to become more enjoyable, and the desire to walk/sit/lie down to disappear. Today I ran my final training run – 3 miles – it was hard, I wanted to walk, and I wanted it over long before it started. Once I accepted that it was going to be hard I made the pain and exhaustion understandable. I hope I can remember this lesson throughout the marathon on Sunday.
Fifth, I learned that my mind is mean – it tells me I can’t; it tells me to quit, give up, sit down, rest awhile; it tells me that something hurts; it makes my stomach feel like a butterfly garden; it keeps me up at night; this week it’s made to run the marathon at least 7 times (that I remember), in weird locations where I keep getting lost, with people I haven’t seen in years, until I wake up without pillows tided in my sheets. I’ve also learned that the body does what the mind tells it to so I’ve learned to push through the desire to quit and to start running after I walk or maybe not even walk at all.
I have to answer my own question now… am I ready for this? Even though the butterflies in my stomach might beg to differ, months of training my body and mind mean that I’m as ready as ever. So yes, I’m ready for this.