Saturday, September 06, 2008

I'll Just Write “Shit” a Dozen and a Half Times

Shit man. Don’t let any of these fools like me who wax all poetic and shit about running persuade you. Somewhere… say… oh *I don’t know*… between mile 1 and mile 18, your shit starts to hurt, and running becomes less about running and more about blindly putting one foot in front of the other so that you can actually get to where you’re going without having to crawl there or pay for a cab.

Ah yes, here we are once again for our weekly installment of “Lou Gets Her Lazy Ass on the Lakefront Path at Stupid O'Clock in the Morning to Run Stupid Far and then Bitches and/or Imparts Wisdom to You Lucky Folks Who, for Whatever Reason, Keep Reading Her Blog.”

Hell. Onwards.

I find -- and perhaps some of you experience this as well -- that there’s often a moment during a training run when you know… you just know you’re going to make it. On the flip side, the runs when you don’t make it, there’s a moment when you give up, give in, and throw it away. At that point, you’re done, and even if you try to get it back, all efforts are in vain and short-lived. You already made your decision, even if you’re trying to fool yourself into believing that you haven’t. Like the time I left Boston for a job in Chicago. But that’s a different story. Of course, there are, from time to time, the runs when neither happens, and you battle it out. But you’re never quite sure you’re going to make it until you make it.

This run I knew. I knew on Friday night. Barring injury, insult, or illness, I would be doing this, and I knew I could. So yeah. With the exception of walking all of maybe three minutes after two hydration stations, I ran 18 relatively uneventful miles this morning. Just your typical, "shit running really far is hard and stuff" stuff.

You might be wondering, where’s the fanfare Lou? Where’s the joy? Where's the overcoming of adversity? The triumph in the face of impossible circumstances? I suppose eventually you reach the threshold of diminishing returns. The runs get harder and the inspiration that comes from pushing one’s self gets… well… not as abundant. Yeah. I'm there.

You know how we are. I mean, let’s be honest. Some – and by some I mean all – of us do this crap because it makes us feel good about us… maybe a little too good sometimes if you're... say... me. At some point, that shitty grin that comes from thinking I'm awesome because I train for ridiculous athletic events, gets wiped off my face. Right around... oh... mile 15. There are fewer thoughts. There is no wisdom. It’s mostly just a string of expletives that rotate through my brain like an electronic message board. Something along the lines of... Fuck. Shit. Fuck. Shit. Fuck. Shit. And then I start to realize, “Holy crap, those people who say this marathon stuff is insane are right! Why on earth am I still running? I’ve been running for three hours and my entire life.”

There’s other crazy stuff too. I noticed today around mile 14.5 that my ability to count became compromised. I got confused about how far I had gone and how far that meant I had to go. Wait… Am I running 17 miles or 18 miles? If I’m at 15.5 does that mean I have 1.5 left? That doesn’t sound right. At mile 16, I started to wonder if I would find God (or perhaps gods) in the midst of the last few miles of the marathon. Or, given the opportunity, would I make a deal with the devil? One never can be sure, but I reasoned, “I think the thing with this God fella is that its about finding the strength within myself to get through the hard times, while the devil would just do it for me, and that sounds a lot better. Regardless, I’m pretty sure I could sell my soul and still be incapable of finishing this shit in less than five hours so maybe eternal damnation isn't worth it after all.”

And then it was hard. And it hurt. And finally, it was over. And I realized that on October 12, 2008, when I reach mile 18 I’ll only have eight more miles to go.

And then I realized how totally fucked up my thoughts are. I mean, *ONLY* eight miles. Only? ONLY? Some people go their whole lives without ever running eight miles. Not once.

Here’s what’s even weirder. As much as I was all, “good riddance,” today, I knew I had a good run, and I could have gone two more miles. I really believe I can do 20 miles (and we’ll find out if I’m right in two weeks!). But after I hit mile 20 at the marathon, I’m guessing I have a solid hour fifteen before I see the finish line. One hour and fifteen minutes!?!?! Some people go their whole lives without ever running one hour and fifteen minutes!!!! I’m just going to go ahead and do that after I’ve been running for… oh… *I don’t know*… venture a guess... addition... subtraction... carry the crazy... four and a half hours give or take 15 minutes.

Bitching aside, consider this an official call for friends who run but were smart enough not to sign up for the marathon. If you want to jump in with me for a mile or two, between mile 16 and the finish, I will love you forever and reward you with one or more of the following: 1) stone cold silence; 2) vomiting; 3) whining; 4) crying. Sounds tempting, I know.

So. There you have it. Shit. A dozen times over. I’d like to spend the rest of my day being spoon feed pizza and ice cream by a hot, half-naked dude who will also be in charge of the clicking the clicker on my command. Who am I kidding, that’s how I’d like to spend the rest of my life. And yes, MM will do just fine in the roll of dude who feeds me and changes the TV channel and generally does my bidding. Unfortunately, he's not here right now.


Lindy said...

Well I wasn't going to tell you this, but you probably already know...that the marathon is probably out for me at this point. BUt as I was already telling my husband earlier this morning...I still need him with the kids b/c I want to run at least the last 10 with you, or more if you like? Or less if you like? I figure, at least I can make use of my bib for something, right? Let me know, and if you'd rather experience that last haul by yourself, I understand that, too. I even thought about running the first few miles with you and then meeting you for the last 6 or 7...and then I realized that I can't do that, b/c my dumb ass would end up trying to run it anyway.

wow, that was a long ramble.

I too am looking forward to next week, running the half marathon, hanging out afterwards, etc...have you and Megan met the girls? Wait, Megan did at Cincy.

Anyway, this is more like an email than a comment, sorry.

Way to knock out those 18 miles, you kick ass!

Sarah said...

Oh man, I loved this post. Literally, laughing out loud because I can relate to every word. I wish I could come out and run a mile or two with you. But I'll be there in spirit as I'm sure I'll have some kind of training scheduled that day.

RBR said...

Well, shit. ;o)

Lindy is correct you do kick ass.

And no, I don't have any real good reason why we continue to do this to ourselves other than it let's us off the hook for various dietary indiscretions and general bitchiness during training. Plus, for just a moment, we truly are the bad ass we once thought we were.

You can bet your sweet bippy that if I was in Chicago on October 12 I would hop in and run with you.

I'd also bring my iPod and a bucket. ;o)

Roisin said...

Stupid O'Clock...that was just priceless man.

And you looked good out there when I saw you, too. Doin' what we do, which is plug away at that run. You're gonna be awesome, I know it. And I'll also see you at the Chicago half marathon next weekend :)

Meg said...

My PT is going to let me start running (on the tready, for who knows how many short minutes??) in just about 9 days - I'll do my very best to at least be ready to run the last 1-2 miles with you, and more if my new ACL will let me!

You know I've been there on my couple of loooong runs - I can't say it sounds appealing, but oddly enough I'm still missing it!

erika said...

Great post, Lou. I had the same four-lettered thoughts that you did during my 18 mile run at Stupid-O-Clock in the morning. But here's the real question: why the hell would anyone do this a SECOND time? Or a third? Or more? Had someone told me how my legs were going to feel after 18 miles, I probably would not have done this crazy marathon training, but ignorance is bliss and here I am. However, now that I know, will I ever want to do it again??
Anyway, your blog rocks and it is keeping me motivated!

Kendra said...

You ran twice as far as I did on Saturday. You rock.