Modifying Expectations

16 Nov

Things don’t happen in a vacuum.

While you train for a marathon, you also have to deal with work and classes and plumbing and groceries and everything else life throws at you.  Sometimes you forget about this.

Like in early April, when, sitting in Philly, I finally got around to signing up for the marathon.  November seemed like such a long time away and the perfect month (a few days before Thanksgiving!  Be in nice shape for the holidays!)

And then there was some back issues in July and the running was sporadic until finally, the last week of August, I scared myself into training.  The first week was painful – building my base again.  Running reminds me of guitar playing.  You never forget how to play but if you take a break for long enough, you have to go through the callous-building (or cramp-surviving) stage again.

Then there was a detour in September while I added in some more hills, some extra endurance, and prepared for the ultra marathon relay race.  No time to think about a marathon when you have to survive the Appalachians.

And then the training settled in.  Runs during lunch, yoga and stretching and endurance training in the evenings, long gorgeous Saturday morning runs with B.  We found a rhythm, ran some races, it was a really fun fall.  I began to contemplate not just finishing the marathon but finishing with a personal-decent time.

Then there was a bike accident.  Not my fault.  Which left me with a fracture in my foot.

I modified my expectations and moved on.  (It wasn’t actually that easy to let go of them, don’t let me fool you.  I may have wrestled with my expectations and then let a few escape.)

Then there was the insomnia.  Then the insomnia started to get better but was replaced by “no time to sleep between work and school.”  There was a final exam and classes and benefit fairs to host and work trips to plan and papers to write and people to entertain and lots and lots of Open Enrollment to do lists.  The days got longer, the nights pretty much vaporized and suddenly, as I settled into my taper, I caught a lovely cold.  After months of being healthy and staying hydrated and eating more calories, the last four days have been a slide into worst-case-scenario.

Not eating enough. Not drinking enough to keep from being constantly dehydrated. Various aches and pains.  The ibuprofen that helped with the leg pain and the cold meds that helped with the sinus issues have now had to be stopped because of how severely they dehydrate me.  With weather anticipated in the mid-60s for Sunday, I am taking no chances.

Today someone asked me if I was excited for the marathon.  No.  My pride doesn’t want to record a bad time. My mind doesn’t feel mentally capable of distracting myself during hours of pain. My eyes can barely stay open, even during this evening’s final exam.

But I am excited for time with my parents.  And to see my relatives. And to see some of my heroes, including one of my own coworkers, run. And to pass the Rocky statue wearing the same race shirt I’ll be wearing.  And to have my parents see me finish.  And to shower afterwards knowing I am done, and I did it, and I can rest.

And maybe, after some sleep and sustenance, I will begin planning the next one.  And maybe the next one will be just a little bit easier, a little bit faster, a little bit healthier.

And, unlike the daily constants in life, at least a marathon has an end.



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