Monday, September 13, 2010

The "M" Word

I have been asked to do a marathon. Me… the girl who 6 months ago almost fainted at the thought of completing a 4 mile jog. I guess this is the same mentality that makes me deny the fact that I’m a “runner.” I mean what constitutes a “runner” anyway. Well, that’s for a later post. It’s not like I have not been approached with the idea before. I have several friends who are runners and swear that completing a marathon is one of life’s greatest achievements. I’ve just never had the desire. The triathlon, though it scared me to death, also had an intriguing factor. There were new sports to be learned, and different ways of training and types of equipment. I mean look at this blog! It literally kept me on my toes. A marathon just has always seemed so… well, boring. You’re doing one thing… running. You’re training is just… running. There really aren’t any fun gadgets or techniques. You are just putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over again. As the last year of change has proven, I don’t seem to do well with monotony. So have I now somehow been wooed over to the dark side? Not sure yet.
Let’s just say that there have been many new positives to the situation that have recently revealed themselves. For one thing, my mentality towards this type of challenge has changed. Thanks to the triathlon, I don’t seem to question “Can I do something” anymore but instead “How do I do this” or “Do I want to do this.” The triathlon, to me, represented something that I considered impossible to accomplish. Now I feel like that word “impossible” has been erased from my vocabulary. In my mind I’ve done the impossible.
Another recent epiphany is that, without trying to or planning to, I’m already a quarter, if not a third, of the way there. I am now regularly running 8 miles. I recently had this conversation with one of the girls I run with who agrees that we have no idea how we got here. Obviously we “know” how we got here, but meaning this was not planned, or a goal. It just happened organically. I’m by no means implying that going from 8 miles to 26.2 will be anywhere close to as easy, but by realizing how far I’ve come in respect of running as a whole, a new world of possibilities has recently opened up before me that I truly never thought possible.
One of the greatest encouragements is that my best friend/tri training partner has recently had a similar breakthrough. After being asked to join, I went to him with this idea for some constructive feedback. He was, as usual, completely supportive and the one who brought up most of the pros already mentioned, but did not show any particular interest in joining me on this expedition. Then this morning, it just happened for him. He had a breakthrough 9 mile run and was tantalized by the same concept completing the triathlon gave me… “I can totally do this!” Knowing that I not only would have a training partner, but specifically the one who went through this last taxing journey with me, start to finish (literally), and all that it entailed, is invaluable.
There is also the point of view, turning a con into a pro, that doing a marathon would be something totally out of the ordinary for me, hence the opposite of monotony, and yet another check off the old bucket list.
This does not mean that I have not, and am not, still considering my list of apprehensions. For one, my knees have always been the first to revolt in the face of endurance, and out of the three sports I’ve trained in this year, running is definitely the knees arch nemesis. I would have to be uber cautious and proactive in training and strengthening to prevent injury. There is also the time commitment. I have a better idea of what I’m up against after my tri training, but at the same time, it has been nice getting my social life back. Am I ready to place it on the back burner again for another 6 months? And will running be enough to keep me entertained? I know that the second I lose interest or enthusiasm for such a goal, the chances of my accomplishing said goal diminishes significantly.
What needs to happen, what always happens at this stage of my decision making process, is research. I will now proceed to bombard myself with marathon facts and statistics until I’m blue in the face and cannot take anymore. At that point, the decision will be made.
Oh, and did I mention this marathon will be taking place in Rome?! Who says “no” to Rome?
Off to the bookstore!

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