Monday, September 15, 2014

Marathon Training: My Last Long Run

Tonight was the last long run of my marathon training. My plan called for 8 miles but I was really skiddish about heading out. It's been a solid two weeks of heavy legs and a heavy heart. I peaked too soon both mentally and physically leaving my confidence somewhere back on my too fast, too much to prove, 20 mile long run. C'est la vie.

My plan today was to map out the actual marathon route by car and see where the canal path portion actually starts. I haven't spent much time on pathways. It was the one drawback of doing this particular marathon. I'm worried about it. It turns out to be 12 miles on a path along the Erie Canal. 

Circumstances went from bad to worse and suffice it to say the end result was not testing the path. 

My state of mind sucked when I got home. I became all the stuff I have removed from my life. The stuff I hate feeling... Anxious. Afraid. Alone. I reached out to a friend and was able to get a grip and some much needed perspective. Part 1 settled my circumstance. Part 2 settled my soul.

Feeling better, I quickly grabbed the gift and ran with it, heading out for my 8. Mile 1 was good. I felt stronger than I have in a very long time. I passed a lady who started clapping for me and it made me smile. But by the upward climb starting at mile 2, the craziness in my brain started. 

My foot hurts. No my ankle. What if I can't finish?

My brain could have been a poster child for the quote about running being a series of arguments in your brain....

We argued up the hill. I started feeling weak again. Then a song came on. It's a little embarrassing to call out the title because the artist leaves a lot to be desired. So I won't ;) But the movie and the book are awesome, The Last Song. It's about a daughter saying goodbye to her Dad. This gives it away but who cares. Anyone can say the easy stuff. It's easy, right? And it's also boring.

'Cause there's no guarantee
That this life is easy
Yea when my world is falling apart
When there's no light to break up the dark
That's when I
I look at you

When the waves are flooding the shore
And I can't find my way home any more
That's when I 
I look at you.

You appear just like a dream to me 
Just like 
kaleidoscope colors that 
cover me
All I need
Every breath that I breathe 

Don't you know you're beauty-ful...

And the word hit me like a ton of bricks. 

Beauty-ful. She said beauty-ful.  

My dad often referred to me that exact way in cards and letters, in spite of my constant teasing him. Spelled just as it sounded. 

Yes, I came home and searched just to be sure my mind wasn't playing tricks on me ;)

Most definitely an Alchemist-like omen. So I looked at him. And I remembered how much he loved me and believed in me. And then I looked at the others in my life that have walked, run, and cheered me along on this journey.

By the 4th mile I magically became swept up in a familiar steadiness that often alludes me but that I nonetheless long for. It felt like it came in on a strong wind from miles and miles away. And it gently settled around my sweaty, tired body as if to say, slow down. No slower. And with that I slowed my body and my breathing soon followed. I focused on long, steady, slow breathes until my brain and my heart finally became soothed by the rhythm and they gave in too. 

I was turned off. 

No more brain arguments. No more worries. No more fear. No more circumstances or details. I was in the place that all that makes no sense suddenly makes sense. I was in the dream. 

It was so good to be back there.

It was dark when I finally reached home. I sat on the back steps and staring up at the sky, I had one last cry. Then I asked God to never let me forget how to get back to that place again.

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