Dec 6, 2016

Achievement Unlocked: Marathon...

Have I talked yet about how I ran a marathon? I know I mentioned I was going to, but I don't think I've completed a post about it.

Here's the nitty gritty: I did it. I ran a friggin' marathon before the age of 40. With 11 months to spare, as a matter of fact.  It was a beautiful autumn day, and I was well-trained, and I was ready, and I did it.

Plenty of things went right. Most of the things went right, in fact. A few things went wrong, but in the weeks before my race, someone in my training group said something about running the race you are given, meaning no matter what goes right or wrong, being present and running that race, doing what you can with how that day goes, good or bad.

It was good advice, and it really helped me--when I showed up with a cold, and then my heart rate strap went all wonky and my race plan went out the window--to focus on what I was able to do, what my options were, and to choose wisely.

Beyond that, there is both so much and so little to say about it. I mean, I was out there for just shy of 6 hours, and since I don't run with headphones that is a lot of time to think about a lot of things. SO MANY THINGS. This I was prepared for.

The thing I was not prepared for was the recovery time. I'm not talking about the physical recovery time--that was par for the course, if by "par for the course" you mean I had a hard time walking for a couple days and then felt fine for the remainder of the mandatory 2-week rest.

No, the part I'm talking about is where you have two weeks of work travel starting the day after the marathon, plus a gig with a chick band in between the two weeks of work travel, all of which you think will be a good break in routine, and it mostly is, except for the part where all of it is such a good break in routine that you then return to the hot mess that is your life, which is now two weeks behind, and you just ran your first marathon and even with the best training, running 26.2 miles just plain takes a lot out of you, and it takes a few weeks to sort things out bit by bit, and by 6 weeks out you're finally pretty sure you are going to be OK, and won't have to see the doc about adjusting your meds, and will even want to run more than 30 minutes at a time. Eventually.

That's the part I wasn't prepared for.

But I imagine it's that way for anyone's first anything, you know? There are SO MANY ways things could go, SO MANY ways to be thrown into disequilibrium, that it is impossible to be prepared until after that first time, because then you have some idea how you will respond to it.

Back in college my educational methods instructor (Dr Betz Frederick) said that people learn best in a constant state of disequilibrium--which she also demonstrated to us with a semester's worth of disequilibrium. I'm not sure I agree with the constant part--if your disequilibrium is too constant that's called chaos and there is science about how too much chaos es no bueno. I assume Dr Frederick was referring to a constant state of disequilibrium for a definite and not-excessive period of time. I also suspect that maybe Dr Frederick had a teensy bit of madness to her method.

That said, I do think it is valuable to get thrown into disequilibrium occasionally, either by choice or by circumstance (personally I prefer by choice), because you really do come out of it with new viewpoints, not the least of which is "Holy smokes, what WAS that?!?"

When I was having babies, they compared labor and delivery to running a marathon. And when I was training for a marathon, they compared it to having a baby. And it's funny, when I was having babies the consolation was that it was one hard day and then you got a baby, and with the marathon the consolation was that it was one hard day and then you got a NAP. So I guess my timing has been serendipitous all around, because at this point in life what I really wanted was the NAP.

I do plan to run another marathon, but most likely not until 2018. There's so much else I want to do, and when I do the next one, as in all things, I want to devote the proper time to it so I can be as awesome as possible. But in this next year--I have a half-marathon goal or two I'd like to chase.  Heh heh--chase.

In conclusion, it's worth putting in the work to do hard things, and in a life of literal and figurative marathons, a well-earned nap relieves many stresses.

Go and do likewise...