How Long is Your Marathon?
I’ve been getting this question a lot lately and it always make me shake my head and smile. Those are about the only smiles associated with the marathon at the moment. It turns out the nagging little virus I had a couple weeks ago was actually the beginning of pneumonia. I ended up taking a week off work (something I NEVER do) and spending all of it in bed. The marathon is now 6 weeks away and I’m trying to build up my stamina enough to stay awake past 6 pm, much less run for 4 straight hours.
At this point, I’m feeling quite a bit better. I’m just still very fatigued and my left ear has been blocked for two weeks and the associated dizziness, deafness, and ringing is about to drive me mad. I starting running again last Sunday (2.3 miles!) and just now got back from my second attempt (3.5 miles!). Tiger is happy as my reduced speed and short distances means he can join me on the runs. I, however, am not so happy as I should have run 9 miles today according to my now-defunct training schedule.
So, what do I do? I could give up and scrap the race entirely. I could force my body into running the distances spelled out by the schedule and just pick right back up. I could get angry and curse my body for getting sick without consulting me about the timing.
I’m not going to do any of those things. I’ve invested too much time and money to quit, my body isn’t ready to run 40 miles in a week right now, and the anger would just be wasted (especially since I wouldn’t be able to hear my cursing over my ringing ear). Instead, I am going to run as much as I can over the next 6 weeks. I’m going to listen to my body (figuratively until the ear clears, of course) and rest when I need to. I’m going to enter the race with no expectations about performance or time; I’ll just do the best I can with where I am on that day. Okay, maybe I have one expectation. I’m hoping the damn ear clears so that I can hear the bands the Rock n’ Roll race series is known for…
This isn’t that different than how I felt when the dust settled after the divorce. I never expected to be divorced. It was not part of the training plan I had for my life. I realized I could give up, pretend it never happened, or get angry and curse it for all time.
Or, I could accept that it happened and go forward the best I could.
How long is my marathon? Long enough that it will be a challenge but not so long that it will defeat me. I’ll complete it just like I got through the marathon of my divorce – one step at a time while remembering to keep breathing.