This has been the longest prelude, ever
I have been working my way through another slight set back this year. In late January, I slightly twisted my left ankle during a run with my guide for the marathon this year. It was not a terrible twist, but the issue is that it was the ankle and leg I have had injuries with over the last 2 years. Because of this, this slight twist had a strong impact on my ability to run. Fortunately, I have been seeing a physical therapist and I am back in running shape. I am in a bit of a time crunch, but with a solid 7 weeks left to run, I feel confident that this is plenty of time to fit in some good long runs and be prepared for the marathon this year. Well, it is enough time for an amature runner to be able to train to the extent that they know they will be able to cross the finish line of a marathon. That’s good enough.
With only such a short amount of time left until the marathon, every single day counts and can not be taken for granted. Since I had this slight set back, I have restrategized my training and goal for the marathon. My desired pace has gone back up to 10 minute miles, so that I can keep my pace healthy and safe as I work to quickly bring up the mileage between now and the marathon. Just this past weekend, I went for another run with my guide, Laura, and felt quite exhausted 30 minutes into the run. I became pretty concerned over the fact that I was feeling slightly winded and hardly started running. Just as this feeling came over me, Laura informed me that she was pushing us at an 8:56:00 minute pace. With out having to tell her that I need to push hard between now and the marathon, she took the liberty of doing just this. More than anything, I was impressed with her and thankful. We held out at this pace for quite some time and put in a 10 mile run. It was a bit shorter than I had wanted, but I did not want to push myself over the edge and trigger my injury. It was a solid run.
That night, I cleaned my room and came across several shirts left over from the 2012 marathon that I had designed and printed. All I have left in my possession are several extra larges. The other 90 shirts were sold and distributed as part of my fund raising and marketing for that year. The design was basic and consisted of a stick figure with sunglasses and a goatee, holding a cane in a running pose with my name, the address to my blog and a broader title which said 2012 Boston Marathon.
These shirts are feather-lite, but in that moment, they felt like concrete. I was thinking back to that time of my life and how far I have come since that marathon. I then calculated the total number of days since January 1st of 2011, when I started training, to the date of the marathon this year and the total number of days came out to 1,206. It will have been over 1,206 days since I started training and set out to cross the finish line of the Boston marathon. The last three and a half years feel like much more than how they appear on paper. Everything that has happened, the amount I have grown, my success and my challenges have made the last three and a half years feel so much longer. When I was holding these shirts, it felt as thought I was holding an artifact. My mission and purpose in all of this is strong and I am proud for my persistence. With that said, I am damn tired and exhausted.
Am I going to give up? No. Do I feel like giving up? No. Do I feel myself giving in? Yes, a little bit. While my life has gone full speed ahead over the last 1,206 days, for better or for worse, part of me feels like one thing has been almost caught in time, or has been suspended, and that is crossing the finish line. It is like being stuck on the eve of a holiday: You are filled with joy and excitement for the big day, but you must wait. In this waiting there is joy, energy, but also some anxiety. Right now, the anxiety is taking it’s toll on me.
In no way, shape or form do I mean to sound as though I am complaining about the amount of work that is required to train and run in a marathon. It is just the fact that I have been doing this for so long, to simply be able to cross one finish line. My spirit is quite tired. At the same time, this realization and self awareness has truly humbled me because I think part of me now feels what some others have found in my story. It is incredible that I have not given up.
I was 24 years old when I chose to set out on this journey and I will be 28 years old when I cross the finish line. As I have stated, crossing the finish line for the first time is only my starting line to something greater, to the real story that will be written and shared. This has been the longest prelude, ever.