Saturday, December 20, 2008

I confess....

Okay, I admit it.... I cried today while watching a romantic comedy.

Only, it had nothing to do with anything lovey-dovey (come to think of it, there may not have been anything overly lovey-dovey IN this movie... And, by the way, movie spoilers may follow). It had everything to do with reliving my final steps across the marathon finish line. 

After my morning run with Tiffany and her pooch, June, I settled onto my couch to watch "Run, Fatboy, Run." I have found that I am a sucker for just about anything that combines film and running. ("St. Ralph" and "Spirit of the Marathon" were the first two films that proved that...) In case you missed the trailers, the theatrical run and the DVD debut, "Run, Fatboy, Run" is the story of a man who, as it turns out, is a bit of a loser -- having left his pregnant fiancee at the alter years earlier. Said girl has a new boyfriend who is handsome, successful, fit -- and happens to run marathons for charity. In order to prove that he has changed and can stick to something, our hero decides to run the London Marathon, which is only weeks away. 

The two end up running side by side and start incredibly fast, passing even the elite frontrunners. New boyfriend (now fiance) trips our hero who, we are left to assume, sprains his ankle. But alas, he doesn't give up but begins hobbling toward the finish -- which is still about 23.7 miles away. Night falls and our hero is still hobbling on, followed by crowds of well-wishers and a select circle who try to encourage him to quit (as they bet against him completing the race). We watch as he hits "the wall," bursts through it and eventually is within eye-sight of the finish. 

In romantic comedy fashion, his love and their son show up at the finish line and urge him to take those last steps.

This led me to remember turning that last corner, seeing both the finish and my training partner Tiffany and realizing "I'm about to finish a marathon." And I cried, because it is still hard for me to believe I did it. Since these last few weeks have been tough, it was nice reliving that moment and the great sense of accomplishment and sheer joy that accompanied it. 

We only ran 2.5 miles this morning, but they were decent miles and at a fast-for-me pace. Amazing what having a pup with you can do. And I think I'm beginning to get the hang of this again -- just in time to base build before half marathon training begins again ;0) 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another one bites the dust

The marathon also produced a bit of a black nail on my big right toe. Today, I can feel the pressure indicating that the nail is beginning to loosen. It is a truly odd sensation. Feels like my shoes have suddenly become tighter -- but only because I can FEEL the nail. I'm taking predictions on how long it will take to fall off. 

I'm guessing it will hold on till Groundhog Day. 

And an update on my other naked toes -- no new growth, but I no longer notice them at all. What is the purpose of toenails? It certainly doesn't seem to cause any problem to have them missing...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Taming the brain

Sooner or later it happens. Something clicks. The brain checks out and movement becomes automatic. Stopping is no longer on the mind, because you don't even realize you are moving. 

When I'm on my game, I don't run because a schedule says to or even because I find it enjoyable. I run because my body craves it. In that moment, not running isn't an option.

I found that moment again today. I'll admit I hadn't pulled on my shoes since the disastrous Turkey Trot 5k. I've walked. I've done yoga. I've lifted weights. No running. I knew I wasn't quitting -- I could never allow myself to do that... but I just couldn't face the street. It mocked me. But I knew today was the day. A weekend with daylight hours would be the perfect time to force myself to get over whatever monster was attacking and run through the grossness. 

I would do a light afternoon run and get it over with. 

The only problem? I didn't make it till then. I woke up early, as always and began watching "Bella" -- my latest netflix rental. Halfway through my brain started cranking, and I couldn't sit still. My head wanted to run. It assured me it would not be silent until I had a date with the road. So I dug out my almost-tights and my Penguin shirt. Found a pair of matching socks and pulled on my faithful runners. Grabbed Garmin and headed out the door. 

It was a short run -- 20 minutes. I didn't set any speed records, but I didn't have any desire to stop -- and my calves weren't screaming at me. For the first time in a long time, I didn't run out of obligation but out of desperate need. And I remembered. Running isn't about feeling good, it's about not feeling. It's about letting my brain work out all its craziness and coming to a place where all I'm thinking about is the pattern of my breathing, the sound of shoes on pavement. 

Somewhere in the race for distance and the longing for quicker miles, I left that behind. I still want to run marathons, but more than that -- I want to remember what it feels like to crave each and every run. To miss running on my crosstraining days. Maybe that is what the occasional easy 20 minutes are for. Not every run needs to be long or fast. They can sometimes be short and slow. 

I think I'm back in the game. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Confessions of a post-marathoner

I've been avoiding this blog, doing whatever the Internet equivalent is to pacing and preparing to leave, only to be somewhat drawn in again. I'd hoped to be able to brag about my new 5k PR. Instead, I found myself having severe muscle spasms during my Thanksgiving race, and stumbled across the line with my worst time ever. 

And I'm okay with that. Or I would be, if such runs haven't started feeling like the rule rather than the exception. 

I'm finding I fear going out, because I fear I'll find my feet don't remember how to run. I thought I was prepared for this. I thought wrong.