There are seasons in every runner’s life. For the past couple of years, mine have been defined by Fall marathons. Winter: Aspirational dreaming mixed with doubt about whether I have another marathon in me and uncertainty about which race to target. Spring: Ah spring … everything seems fresh and new and full of possibility … Push “submit” on marathon race registration but race training is mostly theoretical and workouts are guided by how I feel and how my spirit moves me (or not) on any given day. Summer: The shit is getting real. What are my goals? (Do I have goals?) How am I going to train? What have I gotten myself into (again)? Summer is the pre-marathon season when all of the doubts, all of second guessing, all of the self-pep talks to find my inner badass get sorted out, until the day arrives when it is time to finally flip the switch to training mode and really commit to sweating again.
I am roughly 20 weeks pre-marathon. By now, I usually have a training plan either in place or queued up. By now, I would have studied the workouts and peeked ahead to see what madness I have ahead of me. But as I sit here today, do I have a plan? Nope. And that’s ok, because I will.
This year, deciding how to train came with a whole lot of baggage and push-and-pull. Do I train to finish or do I seize this time in life to shoot for a Boston qualifying time? Isn’t finishing a marathon at age 48 enough? Aren’t I too old/too busy/too (insert every running and body insecurity here) to chase big racing goals? Maybe I can just pretend that I never said that I want Boston – just carry on with a safer and more secure path and finish the race.
Except I can’t. Because even if everyone else around me forgets that I once confessed that I dream of Boston, I won’t forget. And if I don’t try, I will always have this regretful space in my heart that will wonder … could I have done it? If I wholly committed myself to this endeavor, if I put it all out there, if I allowed myself to go after it with all I physically and mentally have, would I have the capacity to qualify?
We are about to find out.
It is time again to be more purposeful about my training. It is time to work on my mental game and give voice to the drive within me, because over the next few months, I will need those voices of confidence and strength and positivity to be more powerful than those of my fears, doubts, aches and pains.
This week also was the week to finally decide how to train. A luxury, this marathon season I am bringing in re-enforcements in the form of a coach. Simply, because the task at hand seems beyond me and bigger than me, the ability to hand some of the training decisions over to someone who knows the sport and how to push an athlete gives me some level of confidence at a time when I feel so much apprehension around my running goals.
So now everything is in place. The deepest part of me knows that I am ready for this journey. I am ready to get sweaty again. I am ready to take this body out for a test drive and push toward my best no-holds-barred.