Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Second Time Around


It was one word, a simple question, really, posed by my father. 

The question is: why I am going to train for and run my second marathon?

I don't think of myself as a particularly "natural" runner.  I'm not fast, I don't have a runner's body or strength.  I ran track for a couple of years in junior high school, but I was almost always the slowest in my event.  Ultimately I dropped out, because it isn't particularly fun to lose over and over again.  I "jogged" a couple of times a week through my college years, but that was mostly because I didn't want to gain weight.  After a car accident my senior year, I stopped running for many years.  I've always been active, doing yoga, walking, swimming, kayaking, dancing, doing aerobics, but I never really had the desire to return to running. 

Until a few years ago when my friend suggested I join a training group for an 8K.

Training for and running a marathon, or really any race, is no picnic.  Some days you will feel great, other days you feel like even one more step is impossible.  You sweat and ache and push yourself--for what?  For what?

I'm still not entirely sure.  I find myself wondering this every day when I get up at 5 to go for a training run at 6 before work.  On a Saturday, when I have to do my long run and spend 2-3 hours, or more, on the roads, sweating so much I am left with a salty residue on my face.  At various races, which I spend money and time. 

After a lot of wondering about why I would ever train for another marathon, I have come up with the following:  After my training runs, despite being exhausted, even if the world around me is crazy and despite my own problems and issues, I am able to find a bit of peace.  When I run races, I feel a part of something bigger than myself.  I can say that the day I ran the NYC Marathon is one of the best days of my life.  Running the marathon is one of my biggest accomplishments, something I did not because I had to, but because I wanted to.  

I proved something--not to others, but to myself:  I am strong, and I can accomplish anything.

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