Friends, brace yourselves, this is a long one.
So last night, my trainer says to me, "Lou. You pick up your CES training information?" It was a half question, half statement. I’m not sure how to punctuate it. But, it was accompanied by one of those sort-of knowing half nods.
Ummmm... Here's the thing...
I’m under a lot of pressure. I have repeatedly semi-promised my trainer, my friends... including Nikkie (who might come after me if I back out), and you guys (my beautiful readers) that I will train for the half marathon this year.
It’s just... I don’t know... maybe I have commitment issues or something... but I can’t seem to bring myself to sign up...
You see, I don’t believe it’s the actual running part that is causing a mental block between me and the CES training registration form. Training will hurt, my body will ache, sometimes I’ll take my running shoes off to discover a blood-soaked sock. But that's what makes me feel awesome... like a freaking superstar. Sure it sucks to be in pain, but the blood, sweat and tears that prelude the satisfied feeling of accomplishment is half the reason we do this kind of insane crap. Am I right?
Of course I am.
It’s not the running.
It’s the getting up at 5:30am every Saturday for my entire summer that makes me feel a little ill. Literally, I visualize myself lying in bed, the alarm blaring in the wee hours of Saturday, and my stomach turns.
What’s funny (in a "Huh" I-have-stumped-you way) is that I didn’t blink an eye last year when I signed on to give up my Friday nights and rise with the sun on Saturdays, partially because I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into... back then, 6-3-0 was just a couple of numbers in a sea of other ambiguous numbers that have now taken on immense meaning in my life (13.1 anybody?). But, no... it was something else. I was ready and willing to toss any semblance of a social life I had in the garbage at this time last year.
Well Lou... you’ve kept us in suspense long enough... why was it so easy last year and yet it is so hard this year?
I plan to tell you, but it’s hard to explain...
Give it a shot Lou... or we’re going to stop reading.
Oh threats now. I see how it is. Fine have it your way.
I’ve mentioned my most recent relationship a few times in this blog. I have alluded to that relationship being... a mistake (understatement)... perhaps a really, really, really BIG one...
A little bit of back-story: My ex and I had been friends for more than a decade when he came to visit me in Chicago about two years ago and… BAM! Insta-boyfriend. That was it... everything made so much sense. We were meant to be together (I mean, we already loved each other as friends... this was just the natural progression of our relationship).
It was just too bad he and I didn’t have this collective epiphany (of course we’d end up together!) when we were living in the same state. He eventually decided to move from where he was to where I am. And... we determined that it would be silly (just ludicrous!) not to live together... And... what would be even more absurd is to continue renting.
So there you have it. He moved here, our finances became inevitably, and infinitely intertwined, and we bought a condo.
And then we lived happily ever after... for approximately three months... in Hell.
Oh friends... our ship sank something fast. It was obvious... painfully so... from the literal day one when I had an excuse to skip out on unpacking his boxes (his parents had made the trip to Chicago to help him move) and, instead attended a party to send off a friend from graduate school in style. I told my boyfriend I would stay at the party an hour; he said not to worry about it; three and a half hours later, I was not sober and in serious trouble (I didn't do so well the with "getting in trouble" part of the relationship). But, that’s another story for another time. Needless to say, I quickly realized that he and I didn’t have the same “priorities” in life.
I learned last summer that one of the many very unfortunate side-effects of making a grand gesture of “love”—in this case moving across states and setting up a home together—and then realizing you made a major error in judgment is the embarrassment that accompanies having to explain to friends and family (some of whom are also—for whatever reason—invested in your relationship) that shit isn’t going to work out. It’s like having to say, “Hey [insert friend or family member name], remember that time when me and my boyfriend made a huge deal about our love, and because our love was so strong we decided to honor that love by purchasing a home together, and we did, and then a whole bunch of people pitched in and helped us out? Yeah... turns out... not such a great plan.”
No one wants to have that conversation. So for a long time, I choose not to. It was surprisingly easy to cut off communication with people, frankly because I knew if I was asked about my relationship I would half-heartedly answer with a thinly veiled lie, “Everything was good…” which would downward spiral to, “You know it’s an adjustment…” which could potentially descend into a river of tears (mine). Everyone would know. I avoided the conversation altogether and tried to convince myself that my relationship would work itself out. And with the half marathon training… I had an excuse to lay low.
The story makes me sick now... to think that I refused repeatedly to listen to my instincts (which were, by the way, not whispering, not nudging, not even talking at normal conversation levels... they were screaming for months that everything was wrong and I needed to get out) and took the risk of cutting people out of my life all to save a little face. Luckily, friends can be generous in their forgiveness. My sudden re-emergence into society at the end of summer 2006 never required explanation.
Oh how everything can change... a mere one year later, I am alone (and much happier) and going out and sleeping in have taken precedence in my life. The thought of giving up Friday nights so I can wake up to run excessive distances at 6:30am seems like much more of a sacrifice than it did when I filled my Friday evenings with fights about where the boyfriend and I would order takeout from and what television show we were going to watch. We agreed on NOTHING, NADA, NEVER. I’m rolling my eyes, but you can’t see me.
However, even now, despite my deep and profound love of drinking al fresco post-work on Fridays, I cannot stress how much I want to do the half marathon. Running is an important part of my life, and training with CES has given me the opportunity to belong to a community of runners. Group training cultivates a feeling of camaraderie; long runs give you loads of time to get to know and befriend like-minded people. I would hate to lose that.
And, I understand why the Saturday long runs begin at such an ungodly hour... it’s so I don’t dehydrate and pass out from heat stroke at noon because it’s 90-some odd degrees. I can get on board with that kind of solid—let’s say, logical—reasoning.
But I still don’t want to wake up...