The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

That Was Fun. Let's Never Do It Again

About three years ago, I ran my first marathon. I finished it. I didn't walk (that much). And most importantly, I felt good enough after it that I was able to walk, eat, and drink and enjoy the fact that I was in one of my favorite cities (I even ran a few miles the next day). Still, I knew that this marathon was going to my first and last. I couldn't understand why a person would repeatedly expose herself to such painful conditions (and these are not specific to super slow runners like me: I spoke to a friend who consistently does marathons and he admitted that even he experiences the moment of utter pain and death at some point in the marathon). There were plenty of painful things I could do in my life that would make me a stronger person that I didn't have to overtly pay for  on the internet (e.g. raising a child). And while most of these things didn't come with a kicky tee-shirt, I could alway just order one off Zazzle from The Bloggess or even better, buy a beautiful dress or muscle leggings to commemorate the non-marathon rite of passage of my choice.  So I had checked my marathon box. Been there, done that. Halfs for me from now on. I could put that annoying 26.2 sticker on my car, talk knowingly about distance training, etc . . .  

Unfortunately, I didn't fully shut and lock that door on my life. I distinctly remember telling people that I would NEVER run another marathon UNLESS it was somewhere cool and out of the country. My bad. I should have just stopped at the NEVER clause. Because for worse or worse, my lovely friend in Australia managed to get me drunk from half a world away and convince me to sign up for a marathon in Helsinki, Finland. Yes, it is definitely out of the country. And yes, it is also definitely cool--in the very literal sense. She covered both contingencies. And bought me muscle leggings to help me feel strong. 

So, apparently, I am running another marathon. And since I don't want to prolong my pain, my goals have shifted from "just finishing" to "finishing as fast as I can" (hey, there is valuable eating, walking, and drinking to do in Finland in addition to awesome death metal concerts that I must get to quickly). So I am now fully training to cut at least 30 minutes and ideally an hour off my last marathon time. Since the last marathon was super slow (5:34:??), that goal isn't too difficult. But it does require that I run more than I want to and drink less than I want to and just implement more all around discipline than I like in my life. 

At least I have muscle leggings.