It’s official. I am registered for the Marine Corps Marathon. October 31, 2010. 26.2 miles.
The most I’ve run at this point is 6. So, you know, there’s room to grow.
Sometimes I think I’m crazy.
I’ve never been what you would call athletic. The highlight of my sporting career came at the age of 10 when I received the most improved trophy on my soccer team. Most improved from truly terrible doesn’t actually mean you’re any good. It just means you don’t suck quite so bad.
I never made it past JV soccer in high school. I got dropped from the crew team after 3 weeks in college. (I wasn’t a fan of carrying the boat, so no loss.) In the 6 rotations of PE that Notre Dame required, I took as many health classes as possible, which meant sitting in a classroom learning about how to be healthy rather than getting out and exercising.
So. Yeah. Not a physical person. I’m a brain. There have been times in my life where I felt like that was all I was, a great big throbbing squishy brain shelled in an unappealing but necessary body, useful only to, you know, protect the brain from point A to point B.
My dad is a runner. When I was younger and he was working and commuting, he’d “pound the pavement” at 10pm. Rain, snow, whatever. 7 days a weeks. He’d come back dripping head to toe. He’d be cranky if something kept him from running.
I never understood the appeal. The punishment to the body, the, the – NOT sitting on the couch watching TV. Didn’t make sense to me.
So why the f do I want to run a marathon?
(Totally lame) reason #1: I’ve been in NYC on marathon day, I’ve seen people walking around with their medals and tin foil shawls. And I’d burst into tears.
These are people who accomplished something. The physical endurance, the mental stamina, the determination. It’s not something you do on a whim. I was proud of these strangers, and jealous that they achieved something so impressive. I want to be one of them.
Reason #2: There is something appealing about the solitariness of running. It’s an activity you don’t need a single other human being to do. I often feel like I rely too much on others. I don’t like to do things alone (though I often do, because I can’t find people to do things with). But running – it’s just me by necessity. So there’s no need to feel bad that I’m doing it alone.
Reason #3: Returning to my throbbing brain issue – I’m very physically awkward. I don’t live fully in my own skin. The me of me is all balled up in a corner somewhere, cringing at and attempting to ignore the grotesque husk of myself. The challenge of running, of integrating brain and body, of joining forces with myself to push myself to achieve something BIG, that’s appealing. I hope I can learn to feel things with my body more (rather than just with my heart or my head), to let go into my physicality more, to be less self-conscious and more comfortable with this dear old husk. It’s the only one I have right?
So I’m going to push myself beyond reason and physical possibility and do this. It’s exciting to have a goal, an endpoint to train for. It’s a slow burn of preparation, and I’m a slow burn of a person, and the metaphor all seems to fit: Slow and steady wins the race.
Five hours of running will require an amazing, legendary soundtrack. I’m going to buy an Ipod shuffle and fill it with 500 songs to keep me moving, pumped, and calm. So I pose the question:
What is your favorite get-pumped song? What makes you bounce? What do you listen to when you work out, when you take a roadtrip, before you do something that scares you? The happier the beat, the happier my feet.
I gotta get my ass to the gym.