I’m in a funk.
I’ve been training for the Walt Disney World marathon for months. It’s not my first go ’round running a marathon. In fact, it’s not even the first (or the second) attempt at the Disney marathon in particular. But I did plan for it to be my best.
In 2009, I was training for the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, D.C. Fresh off of my first marathons two, I was confident that I could run a whole lot faster. I wanted to go from a 5:12 race to a 4:45 race, and I had a firm training plan to do it. All was going according to plan, until…I got pregnant. I was still able to run that marathon, but at a much slower pace than I had planned.
Instead of a triumph, it was a slog.
I went on to finish the Disney half marathon a couple of months later, just before my doctor told me I had to stop running when I was 30 weeks pregnant (God bless the man for humoring me and letting me run that long). Six weeks later, Nathan was born, and just three weeks after that I was running again, despite having had a C-section.
The following January, I tackled the Disney marathon again. I adjusted my 4:45 marathon goal, not feeling I was back in good enough shape for that, to just wanting to break five hours, which I did: 4:58:52. I ran another marathon a month later, and by then I was ready to hang up my marathoning shoes for awhile. It had been a tough two years of training – running double digit mileage with a giant belly isn’t exactly easy – and I was wiped out. I decided to only run half marathons until my motivation returned.
This Sunday is the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World marathon.
Milestone anniversaries mean special commemorative medals, and when they revealed this year’s medal back in the late summer, I was in. It was to be my last hurrah on the marathon circuit for awhile. As much I enjoy marathons, and enjoy the satisfaction of completing one, it’s very time consuming to train for the marathon, and time is something I just don’t have a lot of right now.
So I wanted to hit elusive 4:45.
This training cycle has been kind of rough. I was sick three times in the span of five weeks back in September/October, and began to wonder if I had made a mistake. I started taking Emergen-C daily, and got things back on track. I’ve missed a few runs here and there due to foot pain and what have you, but for the most part things have gone smoothly since October.
When I finished my 20-miler – the longest run before the race – I was confident I could do it. I also vowed that this marathon would be my last until Nathan was in school full time, and possibly my last, period. I resolved to focus more on my whole body strength in 2013, and to limit my running to 5Ks, 10Ks, and a half marathon here and there. I felt good.
And then I woke up yesterday morning with a familiar pressure in my ears and a scratch in my throat, and I don’t feel any better today.
I know most people don’t understand why anyone would want to run a marathon, and even among those who understand the why of it there are many people who have trouble imagining themselves doing it. For me, the marathon is a metaphor for life. I’m driven to finish by watching Sarah Kate struggle to walk, run, and (hopefully someday) jump. Whenever I sag in training or on the course, I think of everything that she has had to push through over the years, and that keeps me going.
So if you’ve tuned in today for an inspirational message, or an ethical debate, or a little bit of boy humor, I apologize.
I’ve been on the verge of tears since I put the kids to bed last night. In the grand scheme of things, missing the marathon (or running it more slowly than I had planned) isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s completey inconsequential. My life won’t be changed by what I do or don’t do on Sunday. But it’s tough to be so close to attaining a goal – a goal that I’ve worked for and looked forward to achieving for three years – and feel it slipping away. I have a laundry list of events in my life that ended with “almost, but not quite…” and I’m having a hard time facing that this marathon might be another one to add to the list.