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One week from today I am going to be running a marathon.
One week from right now, I will be lying in bed, unable to move, looking at two weeks of no running (if I am smart) and wondering why on Earth I ever wanted to run a marathon again.
Right now I am exhausted at the thought of 26.2 and feeling less than up for the challenge. I have been busier in the past few weeks than I have ever been in my life before them and I have not been able to focus on the fact that I have to somehow run all these miles and somehow manage to do it in the time I have planned.
My husband has grown bored of my running. “Qualify this time,” he told me, which doesn’t pressure me AT ALL, really (hi honey!) But I feel it, too. I want to take the fall to recoup and reevaluate why I once loved running so much. I want to find that again.
I want to experiment with barefoot running and run five miles because it feels so good, not because it is part of a training plan.
I hate tapering, but I loved waking up on Saturday morning, breaking out the Chariot bike trailer and biking 15 miles to picnic with my family. It has been so long since I have had a weekend that did not involve either preparing for or running some insane distance. This morning (Sunday), I woke alone with the husband since my parents had taken the kids. I enjoyed a leisurely morning with him and did not have the pit in my stomach, wondering how long it was going to take me to traverse all those miles, how sore I was going to be on return and how much time I would miss with my family.
I did not fill a fuel belt with Gu and Gatorade and I did not stress that if I was still asleep at 8, it meant I would not be home until after noon. In fact, I did not even run until well after we had brunched, napped and acted like an actual family. It was a sublime weekend.
So you can imagine the groan I got this morning when I told my husband I plan to do it again. That I want to run the Baystate Marathon in the fall (famous for its flat course and huge number of Boston Qualifiers) and also that I want to run the Maine (half) Marathon again this year.
“I am not going through this again,” he told me. “You need to just qualify and get it over with.”
And he is right. I do. But I also need to hedge my bets. And even though it feels insane that in the midst of such intense burnout, I would be looking at my next marathon, it also makes sense.
Somehow in the midst of my hatred of it all, I have become a distance runner. I am scared when I think of my life after I meet my goals, which is why I need to set new ones.
I have always said that I am not a charity runner. It is lovely to support a cause that means something to you, but I have never thought running for a cause made sense. Volunteer time, sure, but I hate solicitations and have been just generally uncomfortable with the whole concept, which is why I was surprised the other day when I found myself signing up to run for charity.
The Center for Grieving Children is a cause that is obviously near and dear to me. And since I have never run for charity before, this feels like something new, something that may help me shake the funky pall cast over my running life in the past few months.
And I figure since I am running a half anyway, why not use it as my 13-mile taper run two weeks before Baystate?
And yes, I know my husband will be less than thrilled. But I also know he will support me. After all, he always does.
Tune in next week for a detailed dispatch and recap from my bed.
Sasha Brown-Worsham is a writer, a mother and an unabashed, unashamed runaholic. Check her progress each week as she trains to qualify for the Boston Marathon.