The first weeks of training are suspiciously calm. After the initial jitters of actually filling out the online form and fronting the cash for the run subside, I’m focused.
I can do this.
I have 14 weeks to prep for what will likely be the most arduous physical challenge I’ll attempt in my life. I’m allowing myself to be excited. Really, really excited. There is a strange juxtaposed feeling of joyous anxiety and deep-seated fear. Fear that it will take everything I’ve got, and then keep taking. Fear mostly that it will injure me physically. I foolishly think I can handle any kind of mental anguish sure to be visited upon me during this process.
With my long runs still coming, my legs feel pretty good, and I’m optimistic that this will be a tremendous but rewarding undertaking. I’m trying not to succumb to the chatter and the hype about marathons. There is so much to listen to: how you’ll bleed and blister, feel a high like nothing else, laugh, cry and possibly actually defecate your drawers. Seriously?
What have I gotten myself into? I fight that thought, its going to be insane and intense, and absolutely amazing and I will be glad I did it. Yes I will.
I’m finding it hard to sit still on rest or cross-train days already. My shoes seem to look up at me from near the front door where they sit waiting, and whisper “Let’s go!” I know how important rest days are, and I know how much my muscles need the break, so I hope its a good sign that I’m still drawn to hit the trails even on days I know I can’t.
I ended the first full week of training with a 12 mile run which I pushed out on a mild Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t have asked for better weather, and I chose a great out-and-back route that took me underneath three of Portland’s picturesque bridges. Nice and easy, I relaxed into the rhythm and gently noshed a package of Sharkies along the way. For lack of something better to use, I re-purposed a travel-size mouthwash bottle to carry a modest amount of water with me. While not much at all, it served my purpose and was minty-fresh to boot. Nearing the end and more consumed with boredom than anything else, I called up my Mom and had a nice chat about her day as I pulled into the final two miles.
It was about this point in the run where I realized I had nearly checked out about listening to my body. I was hyper-attune to it in the early stages of the run, monitoring how everything felt in the environment, but I realized I had lost touch somewhere along the trail. Suddenly I knew I would have an actual chapped ass when I got home. No matter, I think. Its an important lesson to learn. Come race day, and subsequent long run days, I’ll know EXACTLY where to apply, and re-apply body glide.
Mantra for the next week of training:
“I am personally against injuries, death and puking”- Jeff Galloway
Me too Jeff, Me too.