“I have discovered that the limitations I had set on my own body were not mine, and now I can’t possibly die without knowing what life I am worthy of.”
That was the reply to an email I sent my friend ViVi who kinda yelled at me for running a marathon while sick. I understand her view on this, and how could I explain to someone in one sentence why I would do it, or could do it. For me, that is it in a nut shell. I have now become aware of what I might be able to do, it it very exciting and VERY frightening. It is also kind of sad. I am 39 years old, I have wasted allot of time, and the weight of what I could have been sometimes overbears me. I know that this discovery is still a wonderful and awesome thing no matter the year it arrived, I feel the misty power of victory waft through every part of my day, no matter how small or large my challenge, I am clearly a woman with a deeper sense of strength and grace just because I run long distances, really I am. I like to imagine my self as sort of a undercover Navy Seal officer, to the untrained eye I am just a 40 year old mother of two at the grocery store, but what if there happened to be a explosive device that needed to be moved far away from the populated area and someone had to run it out of the city, I COULD DO IT! I would proudly raise my “small motherly hand” and say “I’ll do it, I am a runner” as the crowd parted for me they would all stare in shocking disbelief as I walked through brave and confident. I would return a hero and everyone would clap and carry me on their shoulders to my Oprah interview. I know this is crazy talk here, but I like that underneath my “mom gear” I am packing some fierce weapons. God forbid anyone should ever decide to chase me, can you imagine?
The idea that I do not yet know my limits is what got me through this years Disney Marathon. I was sick, very sick and Nikki was hurt, very hurt but that really might not matter, the further we ran the clearer that became.
Nik is right, I was working on a piece earlier in the season about running partners. There is a debate in our group about whether running is an individual sport or group/ partner sport? When we run through the trails on a weekend morning laughing together and following at the heels of the runner in front, it is group. I feel the support and love all around the breakfast table as we talk about the run in a way that only the guy running next you would EVER be able to understand – group sport. But when I took time off to have hernia surgery in October Nik could not stop to wait for me – individual sport. When I spent 3 weeks trying to catch up on my mileage and everyone else was busy running 20 and 22 mile runs – individual sport. then Nik’s IT band flared up and she couldn’t get past 4 on my return to 15 miles – individual. We said as the time grew closer to the marathon we would have a serious talk about what to do if someone wants to drop out? And what would happen if someone couldn’t keep up with the pack? We never did have ‘the talk’ and the single question we were all avoiding is the very one that declares if running is an “individual sport” or a “group sport” Are you willing to sacrifice your own training goals for someone else’s? That depends on your main goal?
Sorry, no easy answer here. Why DO we run? I think it changes on a daily basis… yesterday it was to hang with the group and socialize, tomorrow it may be personal speed work. What is the training for… a timed marathon with very specific minute recorded requirements? Or to finish a distance no matter the time? Each are very different goals, and I would encourage all runners to trade out and experience the feel and reward of both! And maybe, most importantly, don’t judge another runners decisions to race a certain way. After all we are all headed in the same direction…. does it really matter how we get there?