marathon anxiety (and happy nablopomo)

it is november again. 

and i'm, yet again, signing on to write one blog post a day for National Blog Posting Month aka NaBloPoMo (since I don't have time for NaNoWriMo).

enjoy the rantings of this crazy loon aka me. 

--

me. eating a levain cookie after a run this summer. 

me. eating a levain cookie after a run this summer. 

on sunday i run a marathon. if you know me, you know this because i've been talking about running a marathon for a year now. you probably are so sick of me talking about long runs and races and foot pain and hunger that you've been counting down the days until i cross that finish line. to be fair, i'm sick of me too. i'm sick of complaining about running. i'm sick of finding my runs boring and hard. i'm sick of being hungry all the time and then eating crap and then gaining weight despite all the exercise i do. i'm sick of chafing and smelling bad and not sleeping in and worrying about stress fractures. 

running and i are going through a bit of a rough patch as you can see.

this week, i've also been sick of the nervous knots that are in my belly. 

you guys, i'm scared shitless. really. i am. i know people run marathons all the time. i know many of you reading run them all the time. and thats great. but you all are super human and i am just regular human and i can't really fathom how this regular human is going to run all that way and wishing my pace were more like oprah's and not just collapse at mile 17. (pause. i was looking for oprah's marathon time and i came across this crappy article which insults celebrity marathon times...this is shit and this is why people don't run because people are jerks. fuck you, complex for this article. the average marathon finishing time for a woman in 2014 was 4:44:19. marathon running isn't just for those sub 3hr superhumans. i may never run a marathon as fast as oprah (who was faster than the average, just FYI) and that's okay and its not bad and shut up.)

i don't want to collapse. that is scary.

i'm scared of collapsing. 

i'm also scared of not collapsing because that means i'm still running.

it is all very complicated right now.

i'm at the point that seeing signage for the marathon or looking at the marathon course map makes me nauseous. my mom asked if i was at the convention center this morning picking up my bib and i snapped at her because 1) i can't do that until thursday and 2) how dare she bring up the marathon before noon? 

i have issues.

but in all seriousness, i'm scared. i'm legitimately scared about finishing. yes i ran 20mi two weeks ago, but it was hard. and i was slow. and i wanted to cry from mile 15 on. at mile 15 i'll just be getting to manhattan with 11mi to go. who designed this craziness? who said this was a good idea? 

WHAT AM I EVEN GOING TO WEAR ON RACE DAY BECAUSE I'VE FORGOTTEN HOW TO DO EVERYTHING?

i should be distracting myself with the ridiculous amount of work and life i have going on, but somehow i still find myself staring at course maps and eating homemade chocolate chip cookies (baking is another great form of procrastination) and not doing the work i need to do. which means that after i run a marathon on sunday i'll have to come home and do all the work i didn't do and which is due the next day. and because i'm not fast i won't be home until late afternoon and i'll just want food and my couch and i'm already crafting my emails to professors and collaborators apologizing for the lack of plays in their inboxes.

cue more anxiety.

in other words, i'm an anxious mess. these are the days i want to hide under the covers. i honestly think i'd run away if it weren't for the fact that i've told all y'all that i'm running this thing and that all the work i have to do isn't done in a vacuum so others are depending on me. 

remind me to cultivate my introvertedness more. if i were true to my introvertedness, i wouldn't be in this mess.

so i am counting down the days until november sixth not only because it will be a crazy amazing and emotional day but mostly because it means i can do other things again. like not be as anxious. that sounds wonderful.

but also a teeny tiny part of me imagines the end of the race. it imagines me finishing the thing and smiling and crying and proving the part of myself who thinks i can't do anything, wrong. so i'm also counting down the days until she feels glory. like real glory. like not dependent on someone else, something else (except maybe the weather and the great water stop volunteers...def dependent on them), not dependent on the right person reading my work at the right time, not dependent on looking a certain way, not dependent on using the right words...

just me, my breath, my legs, and my brain. 

now excuse me while i get another cookie and freak out some more and finally do the work i set out to do at 9am. or not. maybe i'll just eat the cookie while "doing work" and watching elementary before class. anything is possible. don't judge.

 

p.s. i was interviewed over on lady parts. you should read it. i don't mention running. 

run through it

i started running for a number of reasons.

i was lonely in boston, living alone and working 12 hour days. i was tired of coming home and just being by myself.

i needed volunteer hours because i was in americorps. i learned that running a race for charity, though not the training, counted toward my hours.

i needed to work out. 'nuff said.

there was also something about running...my family is filled with old track team members. they all ran the shorter distances. in middle school, i did too. and then in high school my body changed, my knees began to hurt, and i became slow. really slow for someone who wanted to run the 100m.

but there was this other side to running i had never fully understood: distance running. i barely wanted to run more than a mile before college but in college i attempted to pick up a running habit. at a summer program before my junior year, i ran a mile almost every morning. it was out of character for me, but i did it. and i realized i may have some endurance if i actually worked at it...

and so five and a half years ago i began to run, using couch-to-5k as my guide. all i wanted was to get up to a 5k. to be able to run without stopping.

and i did.

and then i moved to philly and decided to do a 10k. and i accidentally joined a runner's group and trained for a 10miler and then my first half marathon.

suddenly i was a runner. someone who got up at 7am to run 8mi. someone who began to think that 6mi runs were more fun than 3mi runs.

no one is/was more surprised by this than me.

i often wonder why i continue running even though the circumstances have changed. this is what i was thinking saturday morning as i ran in the rock 'n' roll brooklyn half marathon, my fifth half marathon.

and i realized, or remembered because i feel like i remember this every few years, that another reason i started running was to feel stronger.

in boston, five and a half years ago, i felt weak for a number of reasons. physically weak. emotionally weak. i needed proof that i was strong, that i was able to take care of myself, that i could push myself further. that i didn't need anyone, not for most things anyway. that i could carry myself through.

and as i ran on saturday, i realized how that is still true.

in truth, i had no business running this half marathon. the longest run i had done before the run was 7mi. i had only run twice in the last three weeks...and they were 3mi runs each time. and so i wasn't going to do it.

but after the last month i needed something. i needed to do something that was just for me, that was just me taking care of me, that was just me pushing me. i needed to feel strong and capable. i needed to know that i could bring myself to the finish line. i needed to know that my body, my mind could carry me.

and so i lined up at the start line and hoped that what i knew of my body and my mind was true: that they could and would take me 13.1mi.

and they did. and once again i was in awe of my body. (and now i'm hella sore...)

and i am still slow. i'm slow as balls. i've been getting steadily slower (lack of training will do that) and now i actually don't try to run the whole thing. i do intervals (running like 4 minutes and then walking a minute) because i have kinda bad knees and kinda bad hips and i am already tempting fate by running as it is. i'm not trying to mess them up more than they need to be.

and i know there are marathoners and ultramarathoners and i am in awe of their bodies too. what they do is amazing and to them 13.1mi is nothing...

but i know that, for me, 13.1mi is that distance that tests me. it is that distance that shows me my weaknesses and my strengths. it is the distance that proves to me again and again how strong my body, my mind, I really am.

i may not run the two other half marathons i am signed up for this fall. and that's okay. i did the one that came on a day i really needed the reminder that i am strong enough mentally, physically, and emotionally to get through the tough moments and get to the finish line...

...and collect my damn medal...

p.s. i may just run because i like medals.