Hello from pre-marathon week one training.
One word: Messy.
Ok, two words: Messy. Reflective.
Marathon training is going to be tough this time around. I think last year (August 2015-January 2016) having no concept of this distance was actually an advantage. Not really know what I was up against ended up being a blessing. I didn’t have to stress about the HARD until I got there. Until I was in the middle of it.
Thursday’s 6.25-miler was brutal. Every step. At any given moment during that run I compared how I was feeling to how I felt on marathon day in January 2016. It was a little scary; I’d have to run what I ran on Thursday X 4 plus a little more.
My mind was having trouble with that. My legs, moreso.
I didn’t panic (much). I know I had these feelings last year at this time.
How would this broken body turn these little miles into big, bad 20-milers?
How would I convince my legs to stick it out for 3+ hours every weekend?
I’ve been here before. But this time it’s less fun because I know my legs are worse off than a year ago today.
They got into training and running and racing, achievements, goals, and some failures and learnings. Then Matt began talking about whether or not he’d still be doing the running thing if he hadn’t fallen into it and made it his job. When No Meat Athlete became hugely popular and successful I think Matt felt like he needed to stay present in running and races to keep his business afloat. To keep readers interested. To keep staff motivated.
But if he had no audience, no one to “report to,” would he still keep training for the thing? If he was being 100% honest with himself, if no one else in the world existed, if he was making this decision independent of anyone or any other responsibility in the world, would he still say YES to long workouts and this goal race? Is this what he’d do and how he’d want to spend his time?
Talk about some serious soul-searching, right?
He’s basically asking himself: Are you doing this because it makes you happy or because you won’t feel relevant to yourself or your followers if you stop this thing for awhile or forever?
What a time to hear this. On a run. Doing the thing that may or may not bring joy to my life anymore.
It made me kind of exit my body for a second and ask myself WHY we’re doing this again. Why am I going for this race a second time knowing it’s definitely gonna suck? Again.
The most true, real, honest reason I can give is because I am so deeply passionate about this sport. Because even if I crawl across the finish line I still want to be at the finish line. Because YES the process is so, so hard but do you want to know what’s harder? Watching other people do it without me. Eighteen-milers feel like death but so does accomplishing nothing on a Saturday morning.
That was a lot of feelings for a Thursday morning.
Matt decided that, right now, he’s not in love with running. He’s taking time off, trying new ways of moving his body that makes him feel good. He’s still running No Meat Athlete and hosting a podcast. He’s still involved and maybe someday his flame will re-light.
My pre-marathon training included some cycling, too. A particular 35-miler that almost left me in tears. It was humid and early and I did a little too much thinking for a 4:30 a.m. wake up call.
I’ve officially finished my training plan, as of this morning, and I can’t believe we kick things off on Monday.
Let’s do this thing.