I'm in. I'm out. I'm in. I'm out. I just can't freakin' make up my mind about this marathon. You think maybe I'd have it figured out since, well, it's next weekend.
I found a guy I am calling The Magic Man... he's a healer. He's an acupuncturist who knows more about every muscle, tendon and ligament than any human should. And he knows how they all work together and what happens when one gets a little too tight... and best yet, he knows how to loosen it all up and FIX ME. I've seen him twice now, and dare I say I'm fixed!?!
I wasn't going to run the marathon though if I couldn't get in at least a decent amount of training for it. You know, at least enough that I could feel good about finishing it and feeling like I was able to put in a respectable effort. Well, it's pretty much too late for that now. My long run has only been 2 hours. I did that on Sunday. In good news, it caused NO PAIN at all in my calf. Not even a twinge of tightness. I'm healed! BUT, the 2 hours did a number on my quads and I was actually a bit too sore for my own comfort afterward. I deemed tacking on an additional 13 miles impossible. I decided (again) that I'm out for the marathon.
But it turns out that Magic Man is also a great sports psychologist. He doesn't market himself that way, but last time I saw him we spent 45 minutes just talking before he even got to my calf. We talked about triathlon. We talked about the marathon. He asked me all sorts of really good questions. Like,
What does training mean to you?
What does this marathon mean to you?
What is your goal? (Not specifically about the marathon here- more like goal for competing in triathlon in general.)
These are really good questions. Ones we've probably all heard before but how often have you sat in a little room and really talked these things through with someone? When I told him I felt like a failure for not being able to follow through with the marathon training I set up for myself, he assured me that I am not. When I told him that my goal (for training and racing in general) was to really take myself to the well... to see how far/hard/fast I can push myself, he told me that I can still do that. I have not failed. I have just had a set-back. And its temporary. He told me, You Learn When You Get Thrown.
Then he left me alone in that little room with the needles sending all sorts of electricity through both my calves to contemplate that.
Yes. I got thrown. So now I have a decision to make. I can start the marathon, and run it with the intention of facing down those hard moments when they come (and hope against all hope that they don't come until at least mile 18), or I can opt out completely and miss this opportunity to see what I'm made of.
Given that I feel like I can do the marathon without actually re-injuring myself at this point (knock on wood!) I think I'm back in. But I think I need to completely let go of any time goals, because let's be honest, I'm not going to hit the one I set out to reach (that was a stretch to begin with). Let's review. I don't believe in race day magic. I believe in training.
So this is my plan (I think. I completely reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow, and based on the way the last week has gone, I just might!). I think I'm going to run it sans watch*. I know, I can hear all you pure runners out there falling off your chairs and gasping out loud. Who runs a marathon without a watch? Lol. I do! The Magic Man talked me through my goals, which, in the end, had nothing to do with time. My goal is to push myself to my limit. I need to keep a clear positive head in order to do that. I need to focus on how my body feels and push it as fast as it can currently go for 26.2 miles. I do not need to be bogged down by splits that will just piss me off when I see them because they are not going to be the ones I originally set out to do. I think in this way I can make peace with whatever my finishing time turns out to be. If I go out there next weekend and actually run 26 miles, staying relentlessly positive the whole time, and feeling completely spent at the finish line, well, that would be goal accomplished at this point. I got thrown. And now I'm learning. I'm learning how to change up my plans and accept that I can only do what I can do. But I'm still going to try to do it the very best I can.
*I might wear a heart rate monitor. At least for the first half. Just to give myself a decent shot at taking it out at a reasonable effort. Still undecided on this.