Sunday, September 14, 2008

Longest Run

The Portland Marathon is just around the corner -- exactly 3 weeks from today. When I signed up for the marathon, my goal was to get myself into half-marathon shape. So that this winter I could run any race that I felt like entering without planning ahead. Now that I can knock out 13 miles with no problem, I'm feeling a bit lost. My motivation has disappeared. I do not want to do the marathon. My heart is simply not in it. But I was raised by my parents to finish what I start. Damn morals. I called my Mom the other day to whine and complain about it. She offered me $100 to drop out. That was her way of telling me it was okay if I chose to not finish the marathon journey. But my conscious won out and I found myself waking up before sunrise this morning. Filling my nutrition bottles, donning my running shoes, and driving to the gym while the rest of the world slept in on a chill Sunday morning.

My good friend Sondra was a blessing, as she ran the first 11 miles with me. She has been sick and has not run in a few weeks. She also goes at a much faster pace. So for her to slog through 11 miles along side me was likely not easy. But I am so very thankful.

The next 10 miles started out better than expected. This first couple of hills were no trouble. Other walkers and runners gave me friendly waves and smiles. I smiled back...and I meant it. As I came up on mile 14 I was marveling at my rythm and enjoyment. As I came up on mile 15 I felt like I had been hit by a truck. My knees ached, my hips ached, and all of the bones in my feet crunched as they pounded the pavement. I started to cry a little. And then I saw an elderly couple in matching outfits riding their bikes past me. For some reason this lifted my spirits enough to keep going. Soon enough I only had 2.5 miles left to go. It's a route I run often and this is my mental hurdle point. Once I pass this intersection, I'm home free. And then my body started to feel lighter again. My feet didn't throb so badly. My back loosened up a bit. And I was done.

Today was an experience in digging deep and finding out what I have in me. It's been awhile since I've had to go there. I'm out of practice, I suppose. But I know now that I have what I need to get me through the marathon in an few weeks. And maybe even a little itsy teeny piece of me is looking forward to it. Just a little bit.