I ran 18k today, and will run a half marathon February 6. That means I’m halfway to my goal of a marathon in May. Four months from now. And in-between here and there are midterms and finals, Alena’s 3rd birthday, Steve’s 32, our fourth anniversary. I didn’t forget, persay, how long-distance running monopolizes your life, but it’s one of those things that until you’re back in the thick of it, you kind of purposely remove from your mind.
That’s not to say I haven’t been enjoying myself. I’ve been running four times a week, sticking to a training plan for the first time, well, ever. I’ve been focusing on eating food that fuels my body (except those nachos that are about to go into the oven, but hey, everyone needs a cheat day) and I’ve lost weight as a result of that. And although I am rarely influenced by the scale, but more honestly by how my body feels, my body feels good right now. And when my body feels good, my brain often follows.
This is the fourth (I think?) half marathon I’ll run and each time, well, it gets a little easier. It’s at the point now where I feel it’s something I could do a few times a year without drastically altering the balance of my life. That said, maybe I feel that way now because I’m only halfway to my goal of 42.2k. And the second half is more than twice as hard, that much I know is true.
But as I ran today, keeping my pace right on track to meet (or beat, depending on the weather conditions) my PB (one that took a lot of work last spring), I realized that once we achieve something, it becomes the new norm. Once we realize that we can reach a certain point, it often becomes unacceptable to aim for less. And I mean this in an entirely positive way.
What I struggle and sweated and winced in pain for last June (completing the half in 2:05) has become a new standard for me. And as I ran today on very steep and long hills, I realized that I can do 2:05 again. And unless the trails on race day are icy or very snowy, I might even do better.
It’s perspective, I guess. These past few months have been a struggle for me, at times. I’ve felt alone and scared and overwhelmed. Loved, yes, but often undeserving of that love. I kept running because I said I would and because it helps me focus on other things and because I needed to. But in my dedication to running, I became stronger. And as I ran today, I realized (remembered?) that I am strong. Because I work hard when I run hills every Monday, and because I do fuel my body properly, and most importantly, maybe, because I want it. God, I want it so fucking bad.
I want that marathon. I want to keep this feeling of strength, or faith in myself. I want to bottle it, because I know that some days it can be so very hard to find.
I want to figure out how to hold onto this feeling.