Monday, September 09, 2013
I checked my training log last night. This begins week 13 of the incredible journey I started, mostly on a whim, to see how far and/or how fast my two feet could carry me. In less than a month I will return to the road to run 13 miles -- my first Half-Marathon.
"Running is controlled falling." That's one of my favorite quotes from ultramarathoner Scott Jurek. He meant it not only literally -- you literally are falling forward on each step -- but also figuratively as well. You find yourself falling into a rhythm with the ground. You fall into a place where stress and fear melt away. You fall down into a singular focus of one more step, one more step, one more step.
I've fallen a lot. More figuratively than literally, but I do have some actual bruises and scars on my knees. I can remember the biggest falls -- falling in love with my husband, falling into a new dance form, falling for that puffy pink little person that I gave birth to, and of course the first 20 seconds of actual controlled falling I'd ever attempted in my adult life. More than once I've fallen into the depression oubliette, and forced myself to pull myself back out of it with almost no help from anyone else. I'm lucky. I'm short, so I don't fall far ;)
Early August, when I started my distance runs, it was nice out. I could do 5 miles without feeling like I was running in Death Valley. Later in the month, the early weekend mornings gave the illusion of autumn, but those afternoon runs were killer. They put me off of running in general. I scratched all but the 5ks off my calendar, and vowed to never even ATTEMPT a marathon.
But then I fell again.
Saturday's race allowed me to fall right back into where I wanted to be -- in that relatively small percentage of the population who loves to sweat, to feel their feet pounding the pavement, to be timed and "judged" by a previous personal best, or a desire to beat the time of a rival or friend.
And this all happened in 13 weeks. How crazy is that?
Looking back over those 13 weeks of training pages, I wonder "How on earth did I get the idea to do this?" and "Why on earth did I continue?" What kept me from quitting? I can remember stumbling into the house, exhausted and frustrated, because I couldn't run the full 20-minute interval. And just two days ago I ran for an hour and forty minutes.
My original inspiration was that quote that says "You can throw in the towel or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face." I liked that, and it's still probably my favorite motivational quote ever. I didn't throw in the towel, but I wanted to a few times. I didn't, though. Most people I know -- well, I'm not even sure they picked up the towel.
In 13 weeks my life has changed. I lost my extra weight, gained a ton of self-confidence, and found a great new hobby that will keep me happy and healthy for the rest of my life. And I think I'm setting a good example for my son. He falls a lot -- literally, because he's still a toddler -- so I'm hoping he'll fall into step beside me some day, and eventually fall into his own rhythm, passing me and looking back to wave before he sets out for the first 13 weeks of his own adventure. He won't be able to miss me: I'll be the one holding the sweaty towel :)