Two weeks ago I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. I set that goal 22 years ago, and struggled through various obstacles over the last rhree yeats to cross that finisy line.
It was a huge success, and an achievement I am very, very proud of. The thing is, I think it broke me.
I have read countless descriptions of “the wall.” The feeling of the pain, the agony and the fear of failure. The way that an idea penetrates your mind, the idea that despite the training, the dreaming and the work – you really can’t finish it. No matter how many times I read variations of the mental “thud” of the wall – I was not ready. I can still feel the pain and fear in mile 23 and 24.
I finished the race, and struggled through.. The thing is, I don’t feel that I broke through the wall. I feel like it beat me. I feel like I walked. I feel that pain that kept me from being able to run. I honestly do not recall any point in life where I felt that level of pain.
For the last two weeks I have thought about running. I have missed running. I have NOT run, because I knew I had to heal after torturing my muscles through a two-mile walk, preceded by 23 miles of running and followed by 1.2 miles of.. stumbling in a haze of pain and exhaustion.
On the Weds. after the Marathon, I knew I could go for a 30 minute run. Thanks to a wonderful article I found online – I knew that every 3 days, I could run for 30 easy minutes. It’s amazing how easy it was to find excuses to not run, all the while I was missing the running feeling. In my head I couldn’t move past that memory, if it makes any sense.
Today – I finally got my butt out there, and tried to tackle that, while heading out there to embrace that running feeling.
I hated it.. and loved it. It felt exhilarating.. and terrifying.
The funny thing, is I didn’t realize any of this until I had hit the first mile marker. It felt so good to have the road beneath my feet, to feel the (cold) wind. My legs were questioning hwy I was out there of course, but that is to be expected after 2 weeks of no running. My mind started thinking (isn’t that why we run?) and wondering why I hadn’t run, and in a moment of clarity I understood. Unfortunately that dawning of understanding did not resolve everything for me. My run became moments of enjoyment (when my mind wasn’t going) and wallowing in that fear.
I will work through this, have no doubt. I could feel that enjoyment wanting to come back out..
But I think my marathon broke me.