There were many years when I ran marathons not because I was properly trained but because I’d paid the registration fee. That probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I did it and suffered through. I’d like to say it was a solitary event, but I did this a few times—I didn’t “respect the distance” as they say—and it was pretty…hurt-y.
Some people will tell you there is no difference between a marathon medal that is gotten untrained and one that is after spending 18 weeks putting in the time. Maybe they are right. Does it matter how you get across the finish line, if you run, walk, or crawl?
It matters to me. Or at the very least, the medals I’ve earned when I know I’ve put in hours and miles and passed on Friday night beers—those seem sweeter somehow. In those cases, the accomplishment isn’t really the 26.2 miles run from start to finish on race day but the hundreds of miles logged before even tacking on a bib. Those races? Those are my favorite.
That’s not to say I haven’t finished races with less than optimal training and felt really proud crossing the line. My ten mile attempt the fall after Sophie was born was in every way a disaster. I’m not even sure how I did it in the physical postpartum state I was in.
Grandma’s Marathon in 2008: we shouldn’t have gotten medals; we finished well after the posted time limit (they were even taking away the food tables as we entered the chute). But that race was by far the most painful of my life and we persevered for 26.2 miles. While I’m not proud of the time or the way we got there, I am proud of sticking with it.
Which is why it makes it really difficult for me to decide if I’m going to drive to a snow bike race tomorrow, one I signed up for back in November.
Since I am a maker of lists, I put one together of reasons why I should not drive to Marquette in the morning.
- I haven’t trained for this. I’ve been out on my bike approximately twice and for a few miles, at most.
- It’s a two hour drive to and from the race. Four hours in the car is a long time for approximately three hours of misery.
- The weather is shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty for this type of race and I’m worried about possibly getting hurt on less than ideal trail conditions.
- I’m having Mommy guilt; I was gone last weekend in Texas (more on that later) and this will force my husband to sit with the kids by himself for most of the day. Again.
When I signed up for this race, I said to myself, it will be fun. You’re doing this because biking is fun. Yay, biking! But I can’t help but wonder: is this going to be fun or is it going to be a torturous slog?
I don’t know. Really.
On the other side, the reason why I should do this? I’ve said in the past that my superpower is showing up. I might not be any better than mediocre or average on a good day, but I am pretty good at being there. Committing. It’s just sometimes hard to follow through on things you know are going to be painful. I mean, childbirth, amirite? Except with that you at least get a few days in the hospital hotel and a cute baby to take home. Fifteen miles tomorrow, and all I’ll get is a (kind of ugly) pom hat.
I guess I’m in. I think I talked myself into going while writing this stupid blog post. I’ll take it a mile at a time. Or a minute. Or a pine tree. We’ll see. At the very least, Marquette has a really good bakery, and this machine kills donuts.