Week 14: “How do I Know this Person?”

WED | 9M | 9M (10:48/MI)
SUN | 14M | 14.25M (10:17/MI)

I like to describe myself as a wandering homebody. I LOVE to travel, but I also adore being at home. My hubs is the same way. During the months that aren’t winter we often force ourselves to get out more and go to movies or panel discussions, and out to dinner, because we know that once that cold weather hits, we won’t leave the house unless we absolutely have to. That means weekend mornings we usually leave the house between 7 and 8am to either run or go to yoga, and then grab brunch, groceries, and fit in any other errands that need to get done. Once we walk back through that door after hours of shuffling around town, that’s it–we’re not leaving the apartment the rest of the day. I think this way of living also speaks to my inclination towards almost anal retentive efficiency. I like the day to be neat and compartmentalized–there’s a time to be out, and a time to be in.

I only reveal these neurotic tendencies to illustrate what a feat the completion of my 14 mile run was on Sunday.

I could have completed the whole thing under cloudy but dry skies if I had gotten up really early. Instead I stayed up late the night before for the most frustrating 4 hours of my life that ended with my Wolverines losing to MSU. Annoyed and exhausted from getting up at 5 all week, I slept in all the way until 645. I knew rain was coming and although I curse the weather channel app because it always seems to screw me, I kept refreshing the forecast as I hydrated, fueled, and body-glided myself into run-readiness. By the time I got out the door, I knew I had a little over an hour before it started pouring. My plan was to get in as many miles as I could outside, then grab the bag I left with my doorman and skip over to the gym to finish up on the treadmill. The plan was less than ideal. The reality even more so.

I was hoping the first 20-30 minutes of rain would be more of a sprinkle that I could handle. I thought I might be able to get in as many as 8-10 miles before I had to head inside. That sprinkle started at mile 3, then became more steady by miles 4 and 5. By the time I made it back to my building I had clocked in 7.25 miles and I was SOAKED. My plan to grab my bag and head to the gym was a no-go, I had to head upstairs and change my sloshing shoes and drenched clothes.

I barely spoke a word to my husband as I dumped everything at the door and scurried to collect dry reinforcements. He had skipped his extra yoga class in exchange for a well deserved lazy Sunday morning on the sofa watching Star Wars. I knew if I went over to him, or even engaged in too much conversation, it would feel impossible to go back out again. He asked me if I needed anything. I told him, “nope, love you”, kept my head down, grabbed the big umbrella, and shot right back out the door. After watching me come in completely wrecked by the rain, I could tell my doorman Daniel thought I was a bit cuckoo to be headed back out. But I was on a mission. I wasn’t enjoying myself. I was uncomfortable, and tired, and things weren’t running smoothly–but none of that mattered.

I don’t know if residual rain was falling off my body on that treadmill or if I really was just sweating buckets, but that second 7 miles was almost as wet as the first. After 3 miles I stripped down to my sports bra cause the tank I had changed into was so saturated it was weighing me down. I was “that guy” at the gym–the one who’s got open treadmills on each side of him because no one wants to get too close and get hit with flying perspiration. I say that “guy” cause I’ve never actually seen a woman be that sweaty–I might have broken some records. Anxious to finish the run, I gradually increased my pace, but had to be careful not to slip with the slick runway I had created for myself.

When I finally clocked in my 14 miles I walked for a bit on the treadmill, then started to gather my things and wipe down the machine. I had never felt like such a mess. My hair was crazy, my gut was hanging out. I looked like I had just jumped into a pool with my shoes on. The sweat and the rain had rinsed the last of the body glide I had left on my thighs off, and a quick tug on my shorts revealed the deep sting of fresh chafing. It was a far cry from the glorious 18 mile finish with a view of Manhattan in crisp 60 degree weather that I had experienced the week before. It was not just not pretty–it was ugly.

While I may have been a hot mess walking home from the gym, I was a hot mess with some serious pride. I couldn’t believe I actually left my apartment that second time. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, I wanted to hop in the shower, dry off, and get under a blanket with my hubs on that sofa and watch Return of the Jedi. What amazes me is that I didn’t even see that as an option when I went home. This training has reprogrammed by brain in a way that I didn’t realize was possible. I’m not saying I’m never going to sleep in again, or skip a workout, or make pancakes instead of lacing up my trainers. But I know now that when I set my mind to something, I can get myself into a gear that’s resistant to road blocks. I used to think Bikram was my ultimate teacher–it’s what really started my journey in getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Marathon training has taken that conditioning to an entirely new level. My tolerance for discomfort is at an all time high. Mentally, I know that there is an end–and I’ve stopped letting myself get crazy and anxious, as if there is not.

You know what else I learned this week? I think marathon training is bringing all this great stuff out of me–mental toughness, perseverance, grit, discipline. It’s bringing it out–it’s not creating it. Marathon training hasn’t morphed me into this incredibly disciplined person–it’s exposed a discipline that I’ve always had inside me but haven’t always utilized. Yes, I think this process changes us and moves us and can be unbelievably transformative. But I also think it’s especially revealing. While I’ve often surprised myself during this journey–I’ve also recognized myself. How strange to recognize a person that I’ve barely seen before now. It’s like I’m the closest I’ve ever been to who I’m supposed to be.

This line of thinking is going to be revisited shortly. Lots developing there I think.

Wish me luck this week guys–it’s my PEAK WEEK!  40 miles total and the BIG KAHUNA–20 miler on Sunday!! Needing all your good vibes for sure.

Got a long run this week? Doesn’t have to be 20! Shout it out here, I’ll send some good juju your way as well!!

I am so anxious to hear from all of you–what have you learned about yourself this week–from training, from work, from home-life? What do you think? Do you think training and other experiences like it build and shape us? Or do you think they uncover us? Expose who we really were all along?