Maine Marathon #2 (last year relay – this year 1/2!)
The only picture:
I tried to give them an out all week long. Really, I did. But at 4 a.m. yesterday morning, I threw us, a bunch of food, and multiple changes of dry clothes in the car. Matt drove, Colby slept and I stretched and annoyed Matt with endless attempts at meaningless conversation. We left in the rain, driving toward more rain, and arrived promptly . . . ahead of schedule. I should have recognized our punctuality to be indicative of something great, but I didn’t. The boys waited, I paced. I ate a cookie. I slopped Body Glide all over my toes so that they were slipping all around in my socks every time I got back out of the car to use the bathroom, again.
I’ll give you the short version: It was rainy. I ran 13.1 miles, alternating between conversation bombing (a personal flaw I’ve decided to turn into a skill) people around me and turning my attention inward. I ran and enjoyed the (foggy) ocean view. I took deep, restorative breaths of ocean air. I ran and took mental notes on amazing landscaping. I ran and prayed what Anne Lamott coined the “Help, help, help” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you” prayers, with a new ‘help’ and a new ‘thank you’ every mile. I ate my new favorite Honey Stinger gels at miles 4 and 8. It was truly awe-some. I ran without an ipod, iphone, or a watch. I came in about two minutes under my goal time to shave about 7 minutes off my half time from last spring.
I don’t know what happened.
Because I lost so much training time I had planned out a walk/run schedule, but when I got to my first walk time I felt good, so I kept running. And so on and so forth. I had been holding a finish time of 2:30 in my head all summer long, and last week during a training melt-down (during which I almost dropped out) I decided to let that time go and be happy with a finish. Once I realized that I was on target for a possible 2:30 finish though, I reformulated that plan.
I held back early on just because I wanted to finish and finish strong (read: not vomiting and not in the medical tent). About halfway through I made a deal that I would turn it on a bit after mile 10. And I did. After the last clock I knew it was going to be close, but I stayed strong and steady. Coming into the chute I saw the clock counting up 2:28 . . . and I put the hammer down (does anyone know what that saying actually means? I don’t but it seems appropriate, so it’s staying). I crossed the line AT 2:30, but as of last night my official time was 2:28:42. Air punch karate kick.
While I was wiping myself down in the backseat of the car (windows were fogged, no worries people) Matt asked the perennial “why the hell does anyone actually want to do this”. And I’m not sure I have the answer, but I have my answer. I do this because in a world where so much is dependent upon everyone else and so many people are dependent upon me, this is the one thing that really, truly is all me. My training or lack of, my perspective, my juju (good or bad). All of it.
And as much as I need to be in control, it was awfully nice to let go and let my training, my body, and some benevolent higher power take over.