One month from today I'm running the New York City Marathon. I am not ready. At all. As a matter of fact I couldn't be much less ready, yet I'm quite unconcerned. Life has been crazy the last few months (and even more so the last few weeks), and fitting in a long run has been very challenging. I firmly believe that one can fit in anything if they make it a priority, but if I'm being honest long runs are not my top priority right now. I am reticent to take time I should be spending with my son to spend 3-4 hours running. It's one thing to do a 30 minute workout; it's another thing to spend half the day running. My schedule has been crazy, and I've been gone more than I'd like. It seems entirely too self-indulgent to also be away for long training runs.
Then there's the matter of my parents the last few weeks. They both had medical procedures last week, and my husband, the baby and I went home to help them for the better part of a week. Then my dad ended up having to have triple bypass two days ago, so I flew back to WV (sans the hubs and baby) to be there with my parents and siblings. It's been a long, exhausting few days. Dad is stable and we've got a long recovery ahead. Honestly running is pretty far down the list of most important things for me right now.
This morning I did manage to plod through 14 very sluggish miles on the Deckers Creek and Mon River trails in the pouring rain. I intended to run 16 miles, but as I got into the run I began to feel guilty for running instead of heading to the hospital to see Dad. I cut it short a few miles to get to the hospital (without a shower - a delight) for the first visiting hours of the day.
I'd say running is about 75 percent mental and 25 percent physical. The actual running is the easy part; it's getting your head in the place where you actually make yourself run and enjoy it that's the real challenge. My body is in good shape, and I've been running well (particularly since my iron infusions). My mental state is another thing altogether, and I can't wrap my mind around long runs.
I have a confession to make: I've never run more than 18 miles while training for a marathon. Most training plans have you running at least 20-22, and I've never gone that far before the race. My marathon times are nothing to write home about, but I've finished two of them (and would've finished a third if it hadn't been canceled for the heat). I have no doubts about my ability to finish New York, and at this point that is my goal. I originally had time goals in my head, but I'm letting them go. New York will be about enjoying one of the most amazing cities in the world before, during and after my run.
As I've gotten faster in general (this year I've again broken my 5k and half marathon PRs), I enjoy races less. I find myself worrying about my time more than enjoying the experience. I will enjoy New York. It will likely be slow, and it won't be pretty, but I'm going to enjoy it and finish. Those are my goals.
After New York I will put marathons on the shelf indefinitely (possibly forever...but I know myself too well to entirely close the door). I just don't enjoy marathons. Next year I'm going to dig into the 5k, a goal I set this year and haven't been able to focus on. I'm going to run half marathons. Maybe I'll do another triathlon. Maybe I'll take some fun classes at the YMCA. Maybe there will be weeks where I'll barely work out, and that will be okay. If nothing else these last few weeks have shown me that life is short. Running should be fun, and if it's not, then it's not worth it.
I'm looking forward to a slow, leisurely marathon in New York. I'm looking forward to a weekend alone with my husband, great food, walking everywhere, and just soaking up those moments. T-minus 30 days until I run New York, and it may not be pretty. But it is going to be momentous.