Friday, June 2, 2017

I would run 26 miles and I would run 40 more

This month I have two big races: Cayuga Trails Marathon tomorrow and Many on the Genny in 3 weeks (many = 40ish, if all goes well). I signed up for Many on the Genny a full year ago and since then I've run the highest consistent mileage of my life. I've done hill repeats and squats and chin-ups and long runs and even a few speed workouts. I got a piece of glass stuck in my foot. I got a piece of glass out of my foot. I ate ice cream for breakfast. And for second dinner. I got pooped on by a bird. Is it enough? Probably not. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about these races. Even though I know that's silly because really, who cares? I don't feel worried about my time or finishing place. I can't really control that. I may have a great day, feel great and run well (for me). I may have a shitty day, feel shitty and have to make my own sweetness out of the suck. I feel worried because I've been so tired this week, weighed down by stress and other people's expectations, which I'm failing to meet. But then! I was saved yet again from my trainwreck of thoughts by the awesomeness of people. I stopped to get an iced latte on my way to work (full disclosure: we have coffee and chocolate milk at home. So really the latte is just an excuse to pet Millie, the dog who frequents the coffee shop with her human) and a woman who works there (or is possibly the owner? I'm not sure) said "I haven't seen you in a while! Do you have any races coming up?" (Eeek! Yes, yes I do. But why, for the love of cake why, did I think I could do these things?) I don't know how she remembered me or even knew I was a runner (maybe from the not-so-subtle smattering of stickers on my car?). Add in some lovely texts from incomparable human/friend extraordinaire Laura and I finally relaxed.

I don't know what's going to happen. Maybe I'll get lost and fall into the gorge (I mean, hopefully not. Also, this is why we need a zipline). Maybe I'll meet a bear and we will eat peanut butter sandwiches and he will follow me home (Dear Universe: hint, hint!!!!!!!). What I do know is that it's going to be exhausting and excruciating and exhilarating and most excellent. And there's no place I'd rather be. Running is my joie de vivre and my self-care. Some people de-stress by getting pedicures or taking baths. I register for races that are out of my league and then spend a lot of time getting sweaty and muddy and talking and laughing and being ridiculous at 5am. Because filling the unforgiving minutes with distance running and people transforms them into extraordinary moments.

The truth is it doesn't matter what happens on June 3rd or June 24th. It doesn't matter how slow I run those races or whether or not I finish. It matters who I became in training for them: Someone who is not much to look at from the outside but who strives to be braver and more benevolent and bigger on the inside. Someone who knows that vulnerability begets strength and temporary discomfort begets awesomeness. Someone who refuses to be contained by limits or doubts or shoulds. Someone who got to run 19 miles up and down Richs Dugway and swing at Hopkins Point at sunrise and jump off into the snow (and have hilarious trail conversations where Mort says "Treasure hunt me!"). And hopefully someone who can run for a really long time, loving every minute of it.

Lyric of the moment: "Gentle storm, rage away. And fall in love with me every day..." ~Elbow "Gentle Storm"

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