Fellow NYC marathoner Marianne texted me this morning with congratulations about our one-month marathon anniversary. Which makes total sense but I was stunned anyway. The marathon was November 6; I’m writing this on December 6. So, yeah. One calendar month has passed.
Yet it feels like a decade has passed since I took my 26.2 mile scamper through all five boroughs.
It’s not just that the run itself has faded into my foggy memory — I can see, now, how people forget how hard it is and chose to run another one — it’s that I can barely recall that I did it in the first place. Especially when I go out for a long run of six miles and am ready to go home after the first two.
My body feels fine, mostly. While it takes a little bit longer to warm up than it used to and my right ankle and left upper butt aren’t always as on-board with the plan as I’d hope, I think I’m past the worst of the aches and pains. The calls to stop are coming from inside the house — or, rather, inside my own skull. Getting myself out of my nice warm bed on cold, dark mornings and pushing through that first mile is super hard, y’all. I mean, it’s always been an uphill battle but that hill is more like Mt Washington than it used to be.
Which isn’t good because I’ve committed to the 3M half in Austin in January. Right now, 13.1 miles seems like the distance between here and Texas itself. At least it’s unlikely to snow during the race.
Which is what it was doing during our annual Turkey Trot. Calling the precipitation that was pelting us at the end of the 5K “snow” would be generous because it was more like hard balls of ice but, given the season, I’ll be generous. Also: Hard Ice Balls is my drag name.
I went into the Trot with zero goals and low expectations. Surprisingly, the first mile was great. The second mile was a little tougher but still pretty good, despite said pelting. Surely, I thought, I can’t keep this zippy pace up for the last mile (and a little). Then I did and finished the race up with an 11:05 mile average, which is super-duper speedy for me.
And then I went home and ate my face off. Like one does. This was the year I aced both pecan pie and cornbread stuffing, btw. It’s the small victories.
What I’ve discovered during the last few weeks is that my physical fitness running-wise has improved, despite all of the overwork damage I likely did to my kinetic chain during the marathon. I’m clipping off some pretty speedy (for me) miles, even on 5 or 6 mile runs. So - hooray!
But running at all feels harder in my brain than it should — and that’s perhaps a result of seasonal ennui and holiday madness. Each year I’m remind how dark and cold this part of the country can be as well as how much of a marathon getting through December can be. Time to double-down on radical self-care, I guess. Even that seems like a lot of work right now. Is it self-care to snuggle in your bed with your stinky dog and trashy science fiction?
There seem to be a few downsides to not running as much as I was. First, I don’t have many running related stories to share. Second, I’m not running quite enough to not have the entire universe irritate me most of the time, for which I apologize to all the people I know. And, last but not least, it’s hard to get through all of the podcasts I love before the new episodes are released. First world problem, I know
I should be able to catch up on some of them next week when my kids, husband, and I decamp to Central Florida for a few days to celebrate an early Christmas with my Mom and, I say this with great hope in my heart, drive three hours up the peninsula to close on her old house and deal with other financial junk that modern life requires. In between, we may even manage to hit a theme park.*
I have a few training runs to squeeze in during those days, too. Maybe the change of scenery will light a fire under my tired heinie? Or, perhaps, the very real possibility of being chased by a gator will put a spring in my step? We, shall, in fact, see.
* I know there are a bunch of theme park-loving BAMRs out there. A word problem for you: Given that a) my kids are 11 and 14, b) they’ve been to each of the parks before, and c) I’m not sure we’ll have time/money on this visit to really spend a day in one but could be convinced, what should we do? No idea is too silly….