With thanks to REO Speedwagon.
It’s almost time for me to fly.
I mean that in two ways. The first is literal. I leave for the airport in a couple hours to head to Paris with two of my favorite colleagues, my mother, and 13 great students. We’re going as part of an Americans in Paris course–this is Spring Break. My job can be pretty amazing sometimes.
The second way is figurative. As many of you are aware, a year ago, I registered for the Paris Marathon, which is a week from tomorrow. This is not my first marathon That honor belongs to the 2014 Big Sur International Marathon. But in the interim, I managed to break my foot. So I sat. I iced. I raged. I cried. I swam. I aqua-jogged. I couch-to-5ked. And in November, my doctor cleared me to train for the Paris marathon.
The last 5 months have been full of more trials and challenges than I would have imagined. Some of those were physical. Running again as my foot was still recovering was often uncomfortable and sometimes painful. My family will remember Christmas Eve, when I was convinced that I had broken my foot again (I hadn’t).
But more daunting than the physical challenges were the psychological ones. I have been afraid. A lot. Mostly, I’ve been afraid to end up back on the couch. But also, I’ve been afraid of failure. I’ve tried not to talk much about the marathon because there’s a not-small part of me that still isn’t sure I can do this. I’ve trained for it. I’ve been conservative. I’ve followed the plan. I haven’t pushed my luck. And yet . . . the fear is there. The doubt is there. I have some trust issues. I’ve been grappling with them a lot lately, except the trust I struggle with isn’t trust in another person, it’s trust in myself and trust in my body, which betrayed me last summer. Or it feels like it did–since my foot didn’t willfully break itself.
So a week from tomorrow, I will line up with approximately 50K other people and I will do my best to get across that finish line. It may not happen, but I will try. I’ve been fighting this battle for almost 600 miles and more than 200 hours (half of those spent in the pool). I am not 100%, and my time will be slower than it was last year. But one of my role models, a Oiselle Runner named Kate Grace recently said that there’s something noble in putting yourself out there for a race even if you aren’t 100%. I have worked to have this opportunity. I will try to cross the finish line and collect that medal.
And if I don’t, life will go on. What I’ve realized in writing this (thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far), is that there’s nothing I regret about this training cycle. If it doesn’t happen, there’s nothing I could or would have done differently. I can live with that. That’s a victory in and of itself.
Now some last minute packing to finish!
[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user John Lodder]