Four days until CIM. Taper week.
Surprisingly, I’m not jumping out of my skin, climbing the walls, obsessively cleaning the house or otherwise freaking out. I’m actually mostly mellow and kind of in a state of shock. The fact that there’s still MORE running to be done seems surreal.
Marathon Training started sixteen weeks ago when I decided to get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to attempt something harder than I’ve ever done and see what happened. Maybe in the back of my mind I never really thought I’d get here. Maybe I thought it really would be too hard, and I’d quit along the way. I was in probably the worst health of my life and coming out of a really bad patch in my marriage. In hindsight, I don’t know if it was WISE to decide to train for a marathon. But the process gave me something I could focus on and put energy toward, instead of letting that energy fester inside like a cancer and spin me into crazy-girl.
Right around that same time I started addressing my chronic and debilitating digestive issues. The diagnosis was Leaky Gut Syndrome, where the intestine becomes permeable and food particles get through the intestinal lining into the blood stream. My adrenals were shot, there was a chronic low-grade bacterial infection, my immune system was starting to resemble that of an AIDS patient… I was upright and moving through sheer willpower. Train for a marathon? You gotta be kidding.
There were a few stops-and-starts in the process, where my body called B.S. and I entered a forced rest. Over the weeks I’ve changed my diet, swallowed a ton of supplements, learned about rest and recovery and lactic acid and stretching and support and faced a bunch of my own demons.
I looked Failure in the face and saw secret parts of me that don’t serve me anymore. I released fears and embraced Possibility and Hope. And I kept running.
Yesterday I visited Jennifer, my awesome acupuncturist over at Dragonfly in Boulder, for a final tune-up before race-day. After checking my tongue and wrist pulses she looked me straight in the eye and said, “You did it. You’re healthy. Everything’s working the way it’s supposed to.”
Marathon Training was counter-intuitive to the healing process, but it was completely right for me. I stressed my body to the limit and said, “Now, how are we going to build it back up?” I wasn’t going to stop training unless Someone or Something told me to quit. Nobody told me to quit and my body didn’t completely rebel, so I kept going.
My final tune-up with Jennifer was a full-body muscle release. She addressed the tight calves that are causing some plantar fasciitis as well as the knots in my back and my tight hips. There were some ten needles in my back, three at the base of my skull, four in my scalp at the crown of my head, two in my sacrum and another ten or so down my legs and in my feet. I looked like a voodoo doll being offered up for sacrifice. Afterwards I was so relaxed my voice dropped into that super-deep, sexy voice, the one that only happens when my body has been in a state of deep relaxation.
Because I’m having such a hard time holding on to the mental aspect of the race, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my new goals will be. Throughout the training process there were a lot of conceptual goals that could only be measured through pure gut instinct. At the race on Sunday there will be a clock measuring my progress. The clock has no purpose other than to tick off seconds and wait for me. Therefore, I need a new set of goals.
It would be very cool to get a Boston time in my first marathon, but who knows if that’s even possible. I would have to come in under 3:45. Since the journey to this marathon was my original goal, I’m going to stick to focusing on the journey to the finish line, and not the ultimate time.
Number One Goal: HAVE FUN. No matter what.
Number 2: Remember my race plan and don’t go out too fast.
Number 3: Hold steady at 8:45 for the first three miles, then decrease to 8:20/mile. For the last two miles, see if I can “turn the screw” a hair and squeeze out a little extra.
Number 4: Come in under 4 hours.
Number 5: Be upright at the finish line.
Bill and Gwen will be cheering for me. Gwen will have her bike so that she can maneuver around the city and find me at certain points. Once I hit the 13.1 mile mark, she’ll probably meet me at the 20 and then at the finish line. I can’t wait to see her and Bill at the finish line and run into their waiting arms. Without their passion, dedication and support for this crazy idea of mine, none of this would have happened. When I doubted myself, they believed in me. They seemed to know something I didn’t, and I’m actively trying to learn.
So now, through their example, I’m starting to believe in myself, too.