My wife is trying to ruin me.
Ok, not really. She did, however, get asked to run as part of a relay team in an absurd 100k trail race called Dances With Dirt that makes you sign a waiver that reads, “I’m probably going to die in this race, but as a race director you probably don’t have any sense or money to begin with so I’ll give you my word (in blood) that I won’t sue you if this is to happen”. Seriously, that’s all it says.
My wife, the mountain-biking-non-runner-I-trained-for-a-half marathon-and-hated-every-second-of-it, agreed to run for this team, mainly because I think everyone else on the team uses this race as a reason to get together and drink…aside from all the other times they find a reason to do this. She was really looking forward to it, so much so that she said “yes” to the request despite forgetting that she already booked a photo shoot that day.
And this is where she tries to ruin me.
She asks ME to take her place on the team. Mr. “obsessive-compulsive-slippery-slope-I-ran-a-mile-so-now-I’m-obligated-to-run-a-marathon” me. And, of course, I said Yes. I feigned like I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, but…well…I wanted to. Not because I’m fit…I’m not. Not because I’ve been training…I haven’t. Not because there is enough time to prepare…It’s SATURDAY. I’m doing it because it is yet another piece of a puzzle that has been slowly pulling itself back together like it was made from magnets and haphazardly dropped on the floor instead of being properly dismantled, put back in its box and stowed away for someone else to pick up later on (right Noah?!).
Again, I said Yes. So when going to bed a couple nights ago and she asks me what time my alarm is going off and I silently hold up five fingers, she jokingly curses me and I curse her right back.
“Hey, you signed me up for Dances With Dirt so shut the hell up.” Because now I must train. For like 4 days.
I know…that’s stupidly absurd. I know. I KNOW. But this brings us back to this puzzle I just referenced.
Maybe you didn’t notice, but the sun rises very early now. And this body is in desperate need of a tan. It’s also quite warm out and sweating makes me feel alive. I also have a vacation coming in July and I can’t bear spending a week next to the ocean without waking every morning and running at least 10 miles. Then there is that personal reward thing…that unparalleled sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and just doing something that comes more naturally than anything else in life. You know..that.
So maybe my running has become more consistent…and each treadmill run a little longer…and I keep slipping down that slope I never wanted to climb out of anyways. Then the Mini-marathon arrives and I find myself running 6:30 minute miles on the treadmill while the rest of the city battles in the streets…and I’m inspired because I still feel so connected to all that. Then the next morning I find myself running on the very rail-trail I set foot on nearly every single day for years and at that very moment I took the turn….it all came flooding back in. So in just one morning of beautiful weather, beautiful running and complete mental clarity it all hits me.
I’m. Not. Done.
I never was. No matter what I thought was “rational” or “sensible” I simply couldn’t shake the motivation to keep doing the very activity that keeps me alive, that keeps me HAPPY. I had yet to find a way to reconcile that and so I’m not going to try anymore. I’m going to train, because I NEED to train.
Mind you, I’m not quite sure WHAT I’m training for at this moment, but that will come in due time. I’m not even sure what distance I’m training for, but right now that isn’t my main concern. What I’m most concerned about right now is WHEN I train and how I fight through the low spots. I’ve NO intention of losing the ground I’ve gained with my family, of course not. I feel closer to my stepson than I ever have been and plan to keep it that way. This means, most likely, I will be doing most of my runs BEFORE work, fighting off the fatigue of 5 am wake up calls. So be it. The payoff, as I’ve written about before, has always been worth it. I’ve also addressed this somewhat with my wife and she has given me approval based on two demands.
1. She also gets the time to ride/race her mountain bike. Done.
2. I don’t let the fatigue stop us from having good sex. Done!
What else is there to concern oneself with anyways? Recreation and sex…life is simple, right?
I’ve got a pair of worn out shoes, which I have been and will continue to wear out until my birthday affords me an excuse to ask for another pair. I’ve got teammates with positive attitudes. I’ve got a stepson who loves to be outdoors. I’ve got a son who has yet to see me race. I’ve got an awesomelicious wife who supports my dreams and desires. I’ve got good genes, consistency, a race, a summer, a desire and a larger picture comprised of so many little puzzle pieces that have been pushed back together. Now it’s time to get to work.
We’ll start with this almost joke race on Saturday and keep going from there. See you at the start line. God it feels good to say all that. I feel like me. I mean, I’ve always felt like me, even after I stopped training, but now I feel more like me than I have in a long time. It’s good to be back.