There’s this dirty little rumor going around that I’m training for the NYC Marathon. (Shameless plug: I’m raising money for the New York Junior League and you can donate here.)
In past years, I’ve started training around the first week of July. This first week of July, I lost my mom. Most of the rest of the summer is a blur of grief and chasing any happiness that may have been out there. I ran when I felt like it and when I thought it served me. This included the morning after she passed away so that I could run through my tears without my dad seeing quite how hard I was crying. Sometimes it was just a mile before work solely for the purpose of giving me peace and energy; sometimes it was more.
What it was not was any kind of formal training. Sometimes that structure is good in hard times; at this time, it wasn’t for me.
Around September 1, I realized the marathon was two months away and that I needed to make a decision. Would I run this thing? Could I? Should I/ ! I would have deferred my entry and still (obviously) raised the money for the NYJL.
Since then, I’ve been attempting to do a double-digit run every weekend and hopefully keep adding to mileage. I’m going to be undertrained, I am well, well, aware, but I ultimately decided that it would be easier to run the marathon than not. At least emotionally. If I didn’t run, I’d be disappointed in myself for not showing up — for myself, for the NYJL — and either way, I’d still be thinking of the times I ran it and had a sleepover with my mom and she cheered for me along the course. At least if I run, not only will I be distracted, but I’ll have something to celebrate.
And you know you are a little crazy/a marathoner when you declare it easier to just run for 4+ hours…
I generally prefer to do long runs with friends, but this cycle, I have had absolutely zero desire at all to do one alone, so I’ve been attempting to sign up for races or organized long runs.
Last weekend, it was Grete’s Great Gallop, which used to be a half and is now a 10K. I ran it in 2013 (what I didn’t write about then is that I was working on a huge proposal as part of an interview process for my current job, and that was weighing on me the entire time I ran, that I needed to get home to work on it) and in 2011 ran a surprise PR.
When I heard about the race being downgraded to a 10K, I was a little disappointed…but was a-ok with that race morning.
I woke up and quite honestly didn’t want to run, but was glad I’d signed up for it so that I had something to get me out of bed. I was tired, my stomach bothered me, I had cramps, etc.
I got to the park and it was fall all of a sudden. I’m Team Summer…but also not mad. It is October, I guess.
The race was just one loop of the park, and I was grateful for that. I do definitely need to get some more hills in if I am going to do this NYCM thing…
I started off and my legs felt. like. bricks. They’d felt especially crappy for my long run the week before, and I’d realized I’d taken too many classes too close to my long run and my legs were fried, so I attempted to back off the classes in the latter half of last week. Nope.
I tried to listen to a podcast and just get into a rhythm and out of my head and this sort of worked.
As I came around the west side into the latter miles of the race, my legs finally started opening up.
And then my stomach started bothering me. SA-WEET. I ran when I could and walked when I needed to and kept going back and forth about whether I should stop or not. In 20/20 hindsight, if I had found a port-a-potty with no line, I think ultimately it would have saved a bit of time instead of my awkward run/walk.
I finally got to the end and was thrilled to find a port-a-potty. I met up with my friend Sarah to embark on some more miles. I’d planned on ~15 total to build on the 13 from two weeks earlier…
…but ended up only doing 12 total, so 6 more. We ran up the West Side, straight into the wind and uphill both ways, and then across and through Harlem back to the park. My legs were spent, I was exhausted. I knew I could have/should have run more…but I just didn’t have it in me.
My basic philosophy for the marathon: trying my best for right now, trying not to compare that to past Theodora or anyone else, it’s going to be hard no matter what…it may just be harder than usual for me this year but hey, the rest of this year has been hard, too.
Does running help through hard times? It does help me on some levels, but I’m being cognizant of not letting it be a stressor, either.