Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Enough with the whining already

Here comes the fun part. Sixteen weeks of training have come and gone, and now it's time to pack up and make my way across the country to Duluth, where on Saturday I'll be running my fifteenth marathon, the famed Grandma's Marathon! When I started this journey, I had high hopes that this would be the race where I'd finally qualify for the Boston Marathon. It was a lofty goal, coming off of a long layoff after a couple of injuries last summer, I can admit that. But why set a goal, if you're not going to make it lofty? I gave it an honest effort: made my workouts, ate well, rested well, and stayed committed to my training during a busy spring that included a lot of travel. But somewhere along the way, it fell apart. Muscles have been tight, runs have been harder than they should be, and I came down with a terrible chest cold just as my taper began. Everything's just been a little bit off this time around. My head was in the game, but my body was having none of it.

I spent a few weeks feeling frustrated, developing several working theories about what might be going on, which ranged from work-related stress (I have a lot) to low iron (I am prone to anemia) to the psychological impact of being more focused than usual on paces and finish times in the pursuit of Boston qualification. I never quite proved or disproved any of these theories, basically because I ran out of time. I still don't understand exactly what went wrong, but my race is in three days, and now it's time to just suck it up. I'm healthy, I have put in the miles and I know that my body can handle the distance, and I know - to the extent that one can - what to expect out there on race day. In running, as in life, there comes a time that you just have to stop with excessive self-examination, quit with the paralyzing analysis of everything in your past that didn't go the way you wish it had, and give up the agonizing over all of the things that you would have done differently. At a certain point, it is time to just get out there and run the race.
I'm not going to lie to you: the
little lightning bolt on that infographic is
freaking me out.
 

Grandma's Marathon is one of my "bucket list" races, one I've dreamed of doing for years. It's a race that seasoned runners around the country rave about for its beauty and nice people, and we have some good friends in Minnesota with whom who we'll get to visit while we're there. I'll be ticking state #13 off on my personal quest to run the entire country. And Duluth is just a 90-minute drive from the hometown of my own Grandma Emerald, who hailed from Shell Lake, Wisconsin. So it will be a chance for my husband and I to pay a visit and soak up a little familial history, too. What could be better? I love the marathon, and everything about it. I'm ready to get out of my own way, get out there and run the race, and run it joyfully. The forecast is now calling for high temperatures, rain, and thunderstorms on race day. Oh, and apparently there are mosquitos. Mosquitos? Oh right ... I was going to quit the grumbling. Pack the bug spray. Let's do this.

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This race is dedicated to my beautiful grandmother Roselle, and to the memories of my grandmothers Emerald and Phyllis. (But if I suck out there on Saturday, I hope they won't take it personally.) Come rain or wind or thunder claps and lightning bolts, they will be the wind beneath my wings.

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