As they prepare for the Wineglass Marathon on October 4 using the AMR #FindYourStrong Marathon Challenge, Heather and Marianne, two long-distance BRFs taking on their first marathon, are sharing their experiences--and miles--weekly. Find all their posts here.
[Heather started a new job last week so we agreed that I’d handle the writing for today. She reports her training is going well.]
In full disclosure, this is my—Marianne's—second attempt at a post this week. I had a one all loaded up about putting schedules and rules into my life to make this a successful semester for myself and my students at Seton Hall. I’m sure it was fine and I’ll probably get to some of that material another week. But it did not feel right. And when I was discussing starting this AMR writing gig with my friend Sarah, she advised that the best blogging is when people are real. The other post probably didn’t feel right because it made it sound like I was doing better than I am.
Truth is, I’m struggling. In a whole bunch of places.
1. First, and foremost are in my runs. My body feels tired. It didn’t care that my mileage for all of week 13 totaled that of the week 12 long run (19 miles). I had to drag myself out of the house all four days. I ended each run feeling pretty good but have been wiped by the end of the day. Conversation among the #FYS Challengers tells me I’m not alone in this. Although that is comforting, I am ready to be done with the constant willpower battle.
2. The new semester has started. Gone are the open times of sabbatical when I felt like I was doing an adequate job balancing research, family, and friends. This summer I added back in a portion of my committee work (e.g., meetings) and this week, I throw in my two classes including a new prep of graduate statistics. My to-do list is intimidating me already.
3. I miss my mom. So much. Although it was great to finally do the run to the cemetery where my mom is housed that I’d missed in June, it was hardly a substitute for a live visit.
4. Over the last few months, Joyce, my daughter, and I have transitioned out of the parish where I’ve been for 9 years and into a new one.
5. All of this has led to some slipping in my eating habits, which makes the other pieces worse. Thankfully, this one is the easiest to fix and I’m getting closer to ease than struggle here.
6. I’ve made it pretty far into training without having much of the “can I really do it?” fear, but it is starting to hit despite claiming during the podcast that I thought everything would be fine on race day. And I know why. When I drill down under the training plan, under the schedules for work, under the Weight Watchers planning/tracking and Beck-thought-changing, under the belief that my mom is still keeping an eye on us, there’s a bit of a problematic thought that is leading to a struggle:
I don’t trust my body.
When I was at my heaviest, I think I just ignored it and was grateful my mind was enough to become a professor.
When I started running, I assumed I wouldn’t be very good at it.
But when I got pregnant, that was game ON.
I’d been waiting 33 years to put these birthing hips to good use. My OB commented at our first appointment that I had an “excellent pelvis for natural childbirth.” I hired a doula, hit up prenatal yoga classes, read Ina May, watched Business of Being Born, got angry, got ready.
And ended up with a C-section.
You can say whatever you want to me about how this doesn’t really matter and Joyce is amazing. But it still feels to me like I made it to mile 25 and then got in a car and was driven across the finish line. And unlike a marathon where I could try again next year, there’s not going to be a second chance.
To be fair, it was the right decision (and my doula agreed). I’d been having 24/7 contractions at home (well at home except for the time I went to the hospital after the first day, when the contractions had been 2 minutes apart for an hour, only to find I was still closed) for almost a week. I was two weeks post-date. My OB had pulled the Pitocin and let me sleep to see if my body would progress and it didn’t. It was the smart and safe decision no matter how disappointing.
So as I struggle with the calendar closing in on the race, the marathon has turned less hypothetical and more real. I know that childbirth has many more variables out of my control than the race will. I know that the presence to put up with days of contractions before getting interventions is a trait that will serve me well on the course. I know that the privilege of parenting is something not to be taken for granted as I have watched friends struggle through years of infertility and loss and pain. I know I need to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
But despite knowing all this, if you have any tips for having faith in your body, I’m all ears. (Legs, too.)