November 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
This Sunday is my comeback race, a 5-mile club points race in Central Park. My runs have been going pretty well recently, so I’m feeling confident that I can give it a good, solid effort. Five miles is a perfect distance to come back on: it doesn’t need the speed of a 5k or quite the distance base of a 10k and up. I am pretty psyched to see what I can do.
I also feel pretty good about the winter in general. Ideally, the fall would have been the real start of my new running season, but due to a delayed start I had to make it last week. But no matter. I’m building back up slowly but surely, and I’ve had enough unfortunate hiatuses in my running career by now to know that I am fully capable of coming back successfully from pretty much anything. My mind is sharp and determined, and I intend to make sure my diet is as healthy as it can be, that I train and rest properly, and just be smart about it in general. I want to NY qualify this year, whether I end up deciding to run the marathon again or not. From now til May… Or else October or November, but I’d rather not procrastinate with this.
This is really good for me. I really need this to work for, and I need to be around my running friends more again. Running gives me confidence and the ability to love myself like few other things can. It reminds me what I can achieve on my own, it makes me embrace the pain of extreme effort and physical exertion, it proves to myself that I can succeed at things, that I can be healthy and fit and have a body that I love and feel comfortable in, and it just makes me feel special. I don’t know if I will be able to run all my life, but I certainly hope to. I trained for my first two marathons in response to heartbreak and was rewarded with the ability to love myself. I have run through anger and tears, struggled through depression and loneliness and self-hatred. Not every run ends in joy, and not every run ends with answers to the sadness and confusion that I hope to sort out, but it is a friend, and it is there for me.
Bear with me. I have to love something. And this Sunday will be a celebration of that.
November 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
So I’m almost 27, and I’d hoped that I might be a bit better at not caring so much what other people think about me and just being comfortable in my own skin, doing what’s important to me. I waste do much time on Facebook, trying to sculpt the image people have of me through carefully selected profile pictures and carefully worded status updates, but why? No one really cares all that much except myself, because I want to fool people into thinking that I’m hip and interesting and important. How phony, and how boring.
I was thinking the same thing about dating. How long does it generally take to decide if you want to be in a relationship with someone? How well do you generally hope to know that person before you make that first small bit of commitment? But how long does it really take to actually get to know a person? To know what they really care and think about, and not just what they want you to think they care and think about? I imagine it is pretty natural to make introducing yourself to someone new an opportunity to rebuild your image for your own sake. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but aspirations are only aspirations.
I’ve let myself become too wordy again. My main thought, I suppose, is that I want to stop trying to manipulate my image of myself and be comfortable enough to accept that I have my faults and idiosyncrasies as well as my strengths, that not everyone will love me or like me, but that I don’t need them to as long as I honor my personal values and obligations. That’s my wish for my birthday this year, and it’s my resolution for 2013. Twenty-seven somehow seems much older and urgent an age than twenty-six.
November 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
A lot of my friends are running marathons this weekend: Philly, Bucks County… The Knickerbocker 60k (yes, I know, an ultra not a marathon, but I think it’s worth noting)… and I must say that I’m a little envious. I’m getting fatter, eating more poorly, and my self confidence is quietly creeping away. I keep thinking that just maybe I’ll be able to sneak in a short easy run and have it be okay, but simply rolling over onto my stomach in bed or stretching my torso ever so slightly to yawn or loosen up my back are strict reminders that it isn’t time yet. Lymph node dissection ain’t no joke, I guess.
So I’m going to have to lift myself up by my psychological boot straps some other way. Running is my main defense against sinking spirits but it can’t be the only answer. I will not be so one-track-minded, because if anything, I am a fiercely determined person in most things.
I get to go home this weekend. There will be a magically clean house, Thanksgiving festivities, a rowing machine, and the simple comforts of having my parents around. I am hoping the relaxation will help with a speedier recovery. I don’t know. I suppose that if I really cannot race in two or even three weeks, it won’t be the end of the world. I can accept that if I need to.
I am just never more animated than when I get to talk about running. I miss the Queensboro bridge and the Central Park loop, I miss tallying up my weekly mileage and the anticipation that comes from lacing up my running shoes and knotting them with a good tug. I don’t know how much longer I will have to be out of commission… My muscles miss that comfortable and familiar motion, and my mind knows that I am missing out on this crisp autumn running weather.
But at least I can look forward to a satisfying comeback someday.