Here we go again…training has “officially” started. I looped my parents’ neighborhood like a woman possessed this Saturday, my feet slapping against the road to the beat of 1,001 generators keeping many of the locals in rudimentary light and heat.
Yes, Central Jersey is still, in huge spots, still without power. It is also lacking essential infrastructure (thank you, New Jersey transit) meaning that my poor dad has a two- to three-hour commute now, and had to wade through this newly-crafted circle of hell on Friday:
This, my friends, is a lot of people. A lot of very angry, very stressed out people who surged forward so violently when the track was called that I was almost swept up in the entire mess. (I’m only 5.4″ and petite in weight.) I grabbed to my dad for dear life, and turned around and bellowed at people behind me just pushing and pushing. I mean, really. You can see I don’t weight 9,000 pounds nor am I build like a miniature wrestler. Pushing each other will only result in my injury and even longer delays, but 9,000 angry people don’t really care. Not that I blame them.
The reason for my excursion into this circle of hell was to visit my family and enjoy what was supposed to be a well-earned, post-marathon massage. I reckon that thanks to the events of last week, it was well earned for mental, if not physical reasons. And it was glorious.
And I really did feel like that.
Then, being the crazy person that I am, I decided to get in my weekly run – 12 miles – in order to feel like I could enjoy dinner (Thai) and ensuing beverages (wine) without the next-day running pressure.
Let’s just say that looping a neighborhood can be a curious thing.
I was evidently spotted by a man walking his dog and on my final lap he observed, “you’ve been out here a while.” To which I grunted and waved my then-chilly fingers.
Your mind plays tricks on you. “Is this lap one? Or two? How many miles now? Wait, head, I have to count again,” is an approximation of the conversation I had with myself.
You also think re-training for a marathon is a stupid idea. This leads to questioning why the heck you are doing this again, why you think another two 20 + mile runs is a good idea, and how you’re not going to go crazy when the temperature drops and its time to run.
I’ll admit, I nearly gave up. Very, very nearly.
Visions of palm trees couldn’t even sway my strong desire to just stop. To be “normal” and eat bad food and drink too much wine. To sleep in at the weekends and get just enough exercise. To not attend to chia seeds, vitamins, kale and almonds. To wear heels whenever and wherever. To not give a crap about that funny ache in my leg. And to relax.
After about mile eight, I remembered that I run to relax. I’m not going to set a record in Miami, nor do I expect to qualify for Boston (although that would be WAY amazing.) I run because I like to move and breathe and think and clear out the daily messes and just be with myself. The lifestyle adjustments are positive: not only do I feel and look better, but I can give back more because I am happier. There is a new “normal” and I’m wholeheartedly embracing it.
Next week, I will show those 16 miles who is boss because I can. Then I’ll have my wine.