Dec 26

And so it begins. Again.

brick path with pavement o either side. blurry building far aheadWhile I’ve been keeping up my CV and my reading list here, I haven’t posted much in 2018. But today felt like a good day to crank things up again since it’s a beginning or a re-beginning of another kind: I began another marathon training cycle this morning. In exactly seventeen weeks, I’ll run marathon #5: BOSTON.

I’ve wanted to run Boston from the time that I began to train for my first marathon in 2014. Qualifying for Boston is a common goal among the distance running community. It’s a kind of status symbol. As much as I try not to care about external signs of merit, I care about a few of them, and I’m proud of my BQ. I qualified last November and dealt with a smattering of minor injuries from then through the spring, culminating in another bout of bursitis in my knee (hello, Cortisone my old friend . . . I’ve come to deal with you again . . . with apologies to Paul Simon). In any case, I finally was able to start building back up consistently this summer. In case you’re wondering, building back mileage in the South Carolina summer SUCKS like a proverbial vacuum, but I managed, and I’ve been running an average of 40 miles a week this fall. No workouts. Just miles.

Today was the first day of my 16 week training plan. If I’m honest, I’m kind of freaked out about this. I only have one workout this week, and I think that it’s going to be completely manageable. But I’m still really nervous about the miles and weeks to come. I’m not entirely sure why I’m feeling anxious–were I to guess, I’d guess that it has something to do with my investment in the race, the fact that it’s not just any race I’m training for, it’s BOSTON. I think I’m letting that fact put on more pressure than it should. Marathons often make me feel like I have something to prove. I hate that, not least because running with something to prove is a surefire way to end up injured, but also because it brings out ugliness: a kind of competitive drive that feels toxic.

The semester will, I hope, be less hectic than this previous one, which saw me with way more things on my plate than usual: not one but two time-consuming committees (both of which did important work and gave me the chance to work with some of my favorite colleagues but still consumed a lot of time and energy); not one but two conferences (and conference papers) and an extra essay to boot; plus the usual teaching responsibilities and study abroad work. There’s been a lot of noise in my mind about what comes next for me professionally. A couple of doors have closed, and I’m not sure yet which one(s) I want to open. There are a few different possibilities, but I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about them. Also, no matter what, I find transitions and change, even the good kinds, incredibly stressful.

The plan is to get back into the weekly posting throughout this training cycle in an effort to be more reflective. We’ll see how that goes.

[Creative Commons licensed image titled “Freedom Trail” by Flickr user Tim Sackton]

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