Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some thoughts after the first one.

Anne Lamott says that being a writer gives you an excuse to do things.  This is perhaps the best thing about it.  Sitting down to the computer can be an amazing experience of losing time and trying to chase the tail of an idea, but mostly it's work.  Work I really like, but work.  Hard work.  The doing is really the best.  It gives me an excuse to watch and pay attention.  Then I feel like I have to race home back and record it all for posterity.

In this spirit, I'm continuing to reflect about the whole marathon deal.  What it means.  What it was.  Why.  What now.

And today I'm mostly thinking about my knees.  My knees don't usually hurt after I run, but today they're on fire.  Even when I had my hip injury last year I mostly felt a tugging at the side of my knee, but I knew that was more about the ol' IT band being kind of whackadoodle.  This is something weird: pain under the kneecaps on both sides, like I had some Tonja Harding tire-iron-therapy.  Today I'm thinking about them a lot--knees don't seem to matter much until you can feel 'em.  Every step hurts.  Thirteen (or fifteen?) miles of gravel did a number on all joints from the waist down.  Ouchie.

I thought that running a marathon would push me (at least immediately after) to start kicking my legs against the floor, screaming NEVER AGAIN.  Not really.  I joked with Kelly once in the race about whose idea this was, but the moment never came where I wished I didn't do it.  I definitely felt that moment during my first race ever, the now Urban Cow (née, Cowtown) when I ran it in 2009.  At about mile 9 I was cursing the very idea of running and wondering why the heck I did this to myself.  But even though NorCal was one of the hardest things I've done, I didn't get there.  I didn't want to undo it.

In fact for the last two days I think I just have a better sense of perspective on running.  I still really like it.  God knows I never thought I'd say that.  I really do, though.  I need to keep doing it if I want to stay sane, so there's that as an added bonus.  Helps with the Crazies.  But apart from its benefits in the mental health department, it's just nice.  I think running the marathon has just removed a sense of urgency for me.  Until I did run one there was always this thing in my head about how I hadn't reached that milestone.  I think I probably will run one again but I don't feel any need to rush it or to make it happen soon.  On the flip side, I'm not ready to quit running.  I don't want to do a 22 miler every weekend, but I know that there's a sweet spot of about 12-16 miles that I really like.  I know that if I train well again for another one someday (and for the love of PETE if I make sure the next one isn't on gravel) I'll be fine.  I'll survive.  That's a nice feeling.  I could never do it again or I could; either way I know I'll be fine.

It's a lot like my peace of mind following Addie's birth.  Boy, that was hard, but it ended up being okay.  I could do it again.  It's the confidence of knowing what something is that makes it easier to understand.  Yes it was hard.  Yes I can do that.  It's nice.

Right now I'd be most happy, though, if my knees would take a chill pill.


  1. Ok confession time... I've actually been meaning to do this for a while now -- I've been a long time reader. And I love it. Thanks for all you write. Thanks for your honestly. Thanks for really just who you are. You inspire me. Thanks for writing what we all really feel and thanks for expressing it in a way that sometimes we can't. And by "we," I mean "I." Congrats on the marathon and congrats on the grad school... I think you'll be fabulous.

  2. Bethany, thanks so much for the sweet compliment and for taking the time to share it with me. :)