You know this blog is a bit of an outlet for me to bleat on about the ol' chestnut of living your best life, and most of you know that in the spirit of trying to do just that, I've taken on a big life challenge this year of running a road marathon. I try not to talk about it too much and keep it lurking in the background, because really running stories aren't interesting to most. But with only 10 weeks to go, it's starting to poke its head up a little more, and I'm learning a few things about myself. And they're kind of living your best life stuff, so I think it's cool to chat every once and a while about it.
I am lucky enough to have a couple of friends who are also running the marathon, in all honesty, they're likely to be showered and drinking chocolate milk by the time I straggle in and seriously girls, I'm cool with that, just don't let me see you doing it. One of the girls is my lovely friend Kayte who has a clever iron-man husband who's training her and has kindly taken me on as a "the little engine who could' kind of project. I promised him I'd do whatever he asked of me, so when he tells me to run for 2 hours and 45 minutes, that's what I do, to the second. He gives her lots of advice like "eat the pain" and "HTFU" but he's still being too nice to tell me that, although if he saw me that's exactly what he'd want to say to me, so I tell myself those sage words instead.
I had a gruelling run on Friday. Mentally it's tough heading out knowing that you've got to move for that long, but I keep pretty neutral in my head, although the occasional silent scream "WTF, are you kidding me, I have got soooo much longer to go?", shaking me which I shut down and put in the "bad voices I will ignore" part of my running head. For my last 30 minutes, I was primal, there was snot, there was nausea, there was ominous groans from the depth of my bowels. It was not a good space. I looked nothing like the lunchtime joggers bounding round the racetrack of Sydneys gardens. I was the hobbling, clench jaw, clenched butt, snotty, stinky woman. It was a lonely place.
My time ticked over, I got to stop, and that's when the pain really started as tearfully, I hobbled to my ferry home. And truthfully, I was emotionally spent and teary for a long while after.
But the beauty of this gig, is that today I heard a song that's on my iPod, instantly it took me to a spot and time on my run, and I had a strange moment where I missed that run. I bet that didn't even make sense. But I actually missed my long, hard run that made me tearful.
Which got me thinking...I've realised that the only thing that's going to stop me getting to the start line and the finish line of this personal Everest are injuries. Not my willpower.
And the only person I'm in competition with, is myself, and the only one I've got to beat are those voices in my head.
Because it doesn't matter if it's running 5km or 42km, swimming 1km when you can only swim 50 m, going to 3 spin classes a week and improving your resistance, or whatever your personal physical challenge is, the goal is to have a goal. And the reward from achieving this goal is a very personal and introspective form of self actualisation. A feeling of "I was actually good enough to do this, I did it".
I want this bad, I just hope these legs, these creaky old knees and sore hips, want it as much as the rest of me does.
Does anyone else get me?
Postscript. I don't know why I though I'd end up stick thin and streamlined by running a marathon - pipe dream folks, mirrors don't lie