What makes you think you can run a marathon?
I ask myself this question during every half marathon, somewhere around mile 9.
When my legs feel alternately like lead and pudding.
When my mental endurance is wearing thin. (Who’s the %#$*& genius that put a hill here?)
When my throat is constricted from repressing the threat of vomit, the result of accidently chugging Gatorade when I’d asked for water at the stop.
What makes me think I can run a marathon?
I don’t ask myself kindly. Not around mile 9. The question is, instead, peppered with expletives I wouldn’t dream of repeating in public.
I wouldn’t dream, in fact, of asking this question, however kindly, to anyone else who’d tell me she was going to run a marathon. Just one. Her first. Maybe only. Going to at least, at last, try.
I would simply nod and say, of course. Of course you will. And mean it.
You’ve decided, I would say, and so you will.
First, you decide. Second, you do.
It’s as simple as making up your mind.
As difficult as finally, absolutely, irrevocably deciding. The doing, then, is comparatively easy.
And so I have decided. I will run a marathon. My first. Perhaps my only.
The Austin Marathon, on Sunday, February 19, 2017.
I decided finally on May 1. Planned and posted my training schedule on my refrigerator on August 1. Registered, irrevocably, last month. Now it is time to do.
But I’ve decided to run a marathon twice before. Both times ended in training around mile 18 with injuries that would keep me from running for a year, longer.
Six years passed between the first and second attempt. Another six between then and now. And with them the shifting of time and place and focus. The anxiety and pain of starting over. Again. Not running. Barely walking. Not making it even one quarter mile, and surely not up that hill. And then the slow and steady progress, the readjusting of goals.
But not the determination to reach this goal, a marathon. Just once.
So I am ready to try again. The only failure in not trying at all.
And I am ready to write again. Because this marathon training is about more than running.
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