Friday, August 8, 2008

Along the journey

When people learn I'm training for a marathon, they often smile and say "wow, that's great! how long is a marathon?" When I smile back and respond "26.2 miles," their expressions immediately change from a nice, encouraging look to the ever-feared "are you out of your MIND!?!" face. I quickly assure them, "yes, actually, I am!"

I have days and weeks where I wonder what exactly it is that I'm doing. Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment -- but so are thousands of other things that I'm too sane to participate in.

SO, here's a list of some of the changes/things I've learned since training for scarily-long events:

1. I've developed a large collection (well, large to ME...) of perfectly good-looking retired running shoes.

2. While I still giggle when I hear the word "fartlek," I know what it means and its significance.

3. I know I'm capable of far more than I would have thought possible -- new challenges no longer scare me.

4. I am more likely to waddle up and down stairs due to sore muscles than I am to stop until I'm capable of breathing again.

5. I've learned that I have a really strange-looking gait. Why has no one ever told me I look ridiculous when I walk??

6. I recognize I look funny when I walk or run and don't care as long as I can keep going!

7. I get up earlier on Saturdays than I do on regular weekdays so I can run before the temps are too unbearable.

8. The alarm clock no longer terrifies me when it goes off before 5 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

9. I have more cravings for gatorade than any other non-water beverage.

10. I'm learning that there truly is a mental part of fitness that can carry me on past the state of total exhaustion.

11. You can develop more of a bond with a person while running miles 7 and on than you can in almost any other setting.

12. God really is awake before the sun comes up.

13. Hills are ALWAYS scary.

14. I can almost always run them IF someone else is running with me.

15. And somewhere along the line, I have learned to consider this "fun."

16. I am truly, without a question, insane.