“Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow….” Henry David Thoreau
Last week, just one hour before the deadline for the Chicago Marathon lottery, I applied. It was not a well thought-out decision. It was done on a whim when a friend Teresa told me she had just entered. I had considered entering the lottery before and decided not to. For one thing, I wanted to run LA again next year, and I don’t think I could do Chicago and then 5 months later LA. Also, after New York, I feel like maybe traveling to a marathon and having jet lag and not sleeping at home aren’t best for running marathons. But mostly, an early October marathon means long-run training in the summer, and I really don’t want to do 20-milers in August.
So over the last week, since hitting the enter button on my laptop and submitting my application, I’ve been trying to figure out why exactly I did it. And I’ve still been questioning do I actually want to get in? When I get a notification email next week on December 13th, if I don’t make it, will I breathe a sigh of relief or disappointment? If I do get in, will I be excited or say, “Oh…Shit!!”
Don’t get me wrong… I am a runner… I love to run. Since the NYC marathon last month, I’ve been running about four times a week on average, mostly 5 – 6 mile runs and a couple of 8 and 9 mile ones. I go to bed excited to wake up and run. Running is my number one coping skill for life. It is my number one drug. I need it like I need air. It is the single thing that has had the greatest impact on my life since becoming a mother.
While I love running, I have a love/hate relationship with marathon training. There is no greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction than completing a hard-ass long run. And the training schedule gives your life a certain structure that at times I crave and need. I think one of the reasons I entered the lottery is that although I am not currently in the mood to marathon train and am definitely not running LA this year, I’m fairly certain that in a few months I will crave that structure and intensity again.
But here is what I really miss….
I miss writing. I miss sitting behind my laptop either early in the morning or late at night when the house is quiet, and putting my heart on this page. Before I started the blog, I had started writing some non-running essays about my experiences at the urging of a couple of friends…essays that only got shared with them. And then starting to write about running and chronicling my journey to marathon gave me a context within which to show you what’s actually inside me. While my good friends all knew what was inside my bubbly happy-hour-going and stiletto-wearing self, my acquaintances were surprised at what was beneath the surface. And I feel like I need the safety net of writing within the context of running to put my thoughts and really myself out there….
I talked to my husband about this dilemma this weekend…. about missing writing….about missing the connection the writing brings and feeling like I have more I want to say. “Why don’t you just write about other topics and put it out there… just write what you want.” Hmm…. I don’t know why that’s so hard to do, but it is. I know there is something inside me that wants to be written and shared, but I still don’t know what it actually is….
Maybe signing up for another marathon in the future is my way of ensuring that until I know, I’ll just keep running with it until it reveals itself…..