Thursday, February 28, 2008

On running and marathons...

A little unknown (maybe known) fact about myself that many moons ago, I trained for a marathon. It was one of those things i had always wanted to do, but just never got around to doing it. The Winter of 2001, I just woke up one day and said, 'I think I am going to run a marathon.'
Now I am not a runner... prior to that point, I did things like gymnastics and cheerleading and softball, but running long distances... moi? I was in ok shape too back then but i really could only run about 1 mile and then totally pass out! And let me also say, that i am so not an ambitious person, I don't set goals for myself. So deciding to dedicate my life for 8 months to training for a marathon was huge! I still am amazed at myself.
Basically i started by running around Lake Como. Until i realized i needed a plan of action. So I subscribed to Runner's World and downloaded a beginners training schedule. The schedule was pretty easy, run when it said to run and rest on the days it said to rest. simple. The miles started out a few miles at a time, so by the end of the training schedule you were doing long runs some 20+ miles long. I took it on with gusto! And not only that, i was also preparing to move to china at the same time! There must have been something in the water in 2001/2002... who does crazy stuff like that?
Training was intense for me, i have never poured my life into something so wholeheartedly. I took running very very seriously! My friends thought I was crazy, they just didn't get it. I had to get my "run" in before i could hang out with them. They were annoyed.
And socks! oh my socks... pure obsession! You think, who cares about socks, when it's the shoes that matter! WRONG! A bad pair of socks was my works nightmare. I tried all different kinds, thin, thick, moisture wicking, doubled... I finally found the perfect pair, they kept my feet dry, not too hot and kept the blisters at bay. I also rotated my shoes, tried every power bar on the market, and don't get my started on power gels! GROSS! (but they were a life saver on a long run). I ran faithfully throughout the winter, in the snow, on frightfully cold days, I was out there! I did 5k's and 10k's to practice running races. I collected t-shirts and chowed on all the after race snacks. I did my long runs on these set of trails out in the wooded area of Maplewood. It was quiet and I had lots of time to think... running is lonely though. And i always thought that if i were to do it again, I would join a running group.
I never ran for speed, I'm too slow, it was all about the endurance, going the distance. Running and training was a mind game. That is the only way i can describe it. I played mind games with myself everyday. The psychology of running is insane. It messes with you... its like an oasis in the dessert... its not there, but you tell yourself it is. Its a trick! You have to do these things... it kills your feet and your knees! But mostly it messes with your head! Its way more than just achieving that ever elusive "runner's high" its more of a huge accomplishment to say, Did i just RUN 15 miles???? My body hated me, i would tell it lies, tomorrow you can rest. But instead tomorrow would come and i would be out there even if it was just to run 3 miles to get it out of my system.
I chose to do Grandma's Marathon in Duluth.
The day was beautiful, not too hot, not too cold, no strong winds. The pace was set and i was making my best time ever... slow and steady, but totally rockin' the back roads of Duluth. I hit the half way point, mile 13 with a huge smile on my face. It was too easy! I loved every minute of it! I will run marathons until the day i die I swore to myelf! It was too good to be true. Mile 14, I felt a dull pain in my foot. Run through it i demanded! Run through it! But instead of going away, the pain grew and grew and by Mile 15 i could barely run. I hate hate hate my foot! I had to stop just for a moment, to collect my thoughts, calm down... take a breather... and as I started running again, the pain was too intense to keep going. I hit mile 16. It all ended. It was heartbreaking. All I had was 10 more lousy miles. 10 miles between me and the finish line! I could do 10 miles on any given day! My foot said otherwise. I rode on a bus back to the finish line where my friends and family were waiting. It was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life. As soon as I reached them i started balling, unabashedly crying my eyes out. All that hard work and then it was just over. I was so sad and upset. It still makes me sad to think about it.
Three days later I got on a plane headed for California and then on to China. After settling into my new home in China, i decided to go for a run... my foot felt ok, so why not? I ran once around the track. I stopped. I wanted to blame the smog and my lungs not adjusting, i wanted to blame my foot too. But reality was, the passion was gone. I had no desire to ever run again. In the 6 years since that moment, I think i have run maybe 2 times and not for very long. I prefer walks now. However, will i ever run a marathon again? Well, never say never.

6 comments :

The Kings of Lauderdale said...

WOW. I only wish I could get addicted to something healthy... or semi-healthy, I guess it's all in how you look at it. Everything in moderation, they say. No matter how it's looked at, I'm impressed by runners, past or present. Miles just walked up behind me and put a sticker on my pants and said "can I put this on your butt and it will go pop?" Back to the mothering marathon...

jodilee0123 said...

I used to be addicted to running too, but I never ever thought about running a marathon. But I know your anguish. Have you ever thought about doing the North Shore In-line Marathon? I was in the original group when the race first started and stopped in year 8when we were saving our money for adoption. . . well worth it. . . but skating is better on your joints and works your cardio just the same and is so fun--unless you fall, of course. . . And those trails in Woodbury are great for skating!! :0) Maybe we could all go there sometime. . . even if it is just to walk--as I too, enjoy walks much more now!!

...sensible of shoe said...

in the JCC and workout with me!

jodilee0123 said...

Oh, then you could come to kickbox class! Unless you have a bum foot like Megan. :0(

Sabrina said...

Jodi... I want you to kick my butt at your spinning class! You can yell at me and everything! I can handle it!

...sensible of shoe said...

She doesn't yell unless your name is Hugh. You should join, it fun!

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