Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Life of a Marathoner

In a week and a half, once all the Christmas lights have been stowed away on a garage shelf and after a new year has been successfully rung in, I'll be embarking on my third (and possibly final) journey to run 26.2 miles through the streets of Cincinnati.

Lately, I leisurely wake up (at whatever time my body says it's ready) after late nights of eating, drinking and partying too much.  I'm exercising, but not putting much thought into it.  I'm running, but when I get tired, I stop.  My food pyramid is upside down as of late; the sugars and fats are eaten 4-5 times per day, and the vegetables are eaten--well--sparingly.  It's fun for awhile, but I know that this is not who I am anymore.  This is not the life of a marathoner.

When people ask me why I continue to run marathons year after year, I often reply, "It's because I love who I am when I'm training."  Marathoning requires discipline, dedication, and a mental and physical toughness to which little else in life can compare.  It teaches me that I can do anything that I set my mind to do, and serves as an ever-present reminder that I can make it through any difficult challenge life throws at me.  When I wake up in the morning (with joints cracking) and I look into the mirror, I am truly proud of what I see staring back.   

As December turns into January and people around the country once again resolve to get fit this year, I'll be throwing out my leftover holiday treats because a healthy diet won't be a resolution for me, it will be a necessity

I will be consumed by training.  I will analyze ever strain and pull to make sure it isn't serious enough to skip a long run, short run, or cross-training session.  I will follow the weather for Saturday runs with more interest than a meteorologist.  Is it going to be too cold?  Too hot?  Too windy?  Too rainy?  Based on the weather predictions, I will consider my wardrobe as seriously as the top New York designers do during Fashion Week:  Will this pullover be warm enough/cool enough/breathable?  Will this bra chafe?  Will these pants be tight enough/loose enough/long enough/short enough?  What  accessories do I need?  A hat?  (Which hat?)  A pair of gloves?  (Which gloves?)  My iPod?  (Which iPod?)  My Garmin?  My Gu?  How will I store it?  In my forearm sleeve or my fanny pack? 

It's enough to make one's head spin, but it's just par for the course of a marathoner.

The next four months of weekdays will be filled with long evenings at the gym after a full work day.  Friday nights will consist of a high-carb meal and getting to bed early.  Saturdays will start with rising before the sun, and pounding miles upon miles of pavement up the hills, through the streets, and across the bridges in the freezing cold, snow, rain, wind, and anything else Mother Nature throws at me.  Saturday nights will be painful, because my 34-year-old body isn't supposed to take that kind of beating anymore.  And on Sunday, my sore, aching muscles will wince through a recovery run, and I'll start the process all over again the next week.

And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Happy Pig training season, everyone!

1 comment:

Ness said...

Hi great post!! I just became a mother and my goal for next year to run a marathon...after reading your post i really want to get disciplined and push myself... Your words are encouraging. Good luck to you i am sure you can do it!!