Begrudgingly, I psyched myself up for a run yesterday morning. Wednesdays are usually my days off because Michael (significant other) coaches a 6am indoor run, goes directly to work for the day, and then coaches a group run at Lululemon in the evenings after work. His crazy schedule leaves me home with the dog, cat, and twins from 5am until I head off to work and then from around 6 to 9 o’clock pm. Unfortunately, I was sick with a cold this weekend and couldn’t muster the energy for a run on Monday, which has thrown the whole week off. I managed to squeeze in an easy treadmill run on Tuesday night for posterity. And, given the Wednesday scheduling constraints and because it’s crunch time, I opted to go to work an hour and fifteen minutes late Wednesday so I could squeeze in a kid-free run in the morning. As soon as my mom arrived to take care of the twins, I bolted out the door – 8:30 sharp. The heat has broken here in the North East. Still, I was drenched in sweat and dripping by the time I entered Central Park, which is just about 0.4 miles from our front door. The air was thick, which was not helping me breathe with my fluid-filled lungs. I was in the midst of having a pity party for myself when an older woman walking by with her dog shouted out, “good luck in the Chicago Marathon!”
“Thanks!” I yelled back, as I put on a smile and snapped out of my funk. I’d seen this woman before at the dog run where we sometimes take Redd (dog). More often than not, these days, Michael takes Redd on Saturday mornings with the twins while I am running long. Managing an energetic dog and two 1.5 year olds is no joke. How he also, apparently, managed to make friends, is beyond me!
In that moment, something struck me. For the first time, I realized that my upcoming marathon is not only about me. Yes, I’ve done the training and I’ll be the one out there in under two weeks (eek!), but it has all been enabled by an extremely wonderful team of people who are invested in my success. So invested, in fact, that they proudly tell acquaintances at the dog run about my training, for example.
Sometimes I feel guilty for taking time away from my little family to train. I wonder if Michael would he be happier if I didn’t run long distances. He would certainly have more time for his own training. But I know, in my heart of hearts, there is something extremely powerful in ‘the pursuit’ of a big, hairy, audacious goal, whether you’re experiencing it yourself or supporting someone you love. It’s a place where Michael and I have a deep connection. Training and racing goes beyond a simple physical test. In both, we experience great victories, devastating failures, small signs of progress, and moments when we ALMOST fail to muster the energy to go on. Whether it’s a 5k or an ultra marathon, a sprint triathlon or an ironman, these pursuits are so powerful because, if taken seriously, they really can be a microcosm of life.
Since having kids, my social time is so much more limited, yet I am so thankful for my wonderful team, including Michael, The Parentals, our extended family, my friends (in real life) & my twin mom friends (online). When the going gets tough out there and I feel the urge to abandon my goal because I’m in too much dang pain (marathons seem to bring out my inner baby), I am going to think of these people. In a very real way, my victory is their victory.
Because, let’s be real – there is nothing better in life than seeing the people you love take aim, work their buns off, and then seize their goals.