Stubborn Gene Necessary For Marathon Running

Yesterday I ran 11.86 miles. I know this thanks to the new Garmin. I don’t know how I ran without one before. It was much more relaxing to not have to worry about tracking my mileage and pace time in my head. Math after five or six miles is really hard!

My itouch was in dire need of new music, so I downloaded some Eminem. I’m sure it seems funny that I’m singing Miranda Lambert’s praises one day, and downloading Eminem the next, but I like all kinds of music. I like anything that speaks to my soul.

If you can get past the shock factor, Eminem is pure poetry. His writing reminds me how it felt to be young, and wild and free. Now that I’m 40 (is that considered middle age?) hearing all that cussing and aggression mixed with pain and love, fun and danger, reminds me of the girl I used to be; the stubborn teenage me who knew it all and liked a challenge. That stubborn streak is still a part of me; I learned this year that it’s genetic. Clearly I still like a challenge or I wouldn’t be training for Tobacco Road. I realize more and more, though, that I’ll never know everything. I have a different perspective. Aging will do that.

My first nine miles couldn’t have been better. I left the house excited for my long run, and excited for the race that is now fourteen weeks away.

By the time the Garmin said 9.2, I realized why they say that thing they say; when you run a marathon, you should relax and enjoy the first ten miles. I now understand. It’s because the next 16.2 are going to be horrendous and painful and you/I will wonder why the heck are we doing this? Mile 10 was when things got tough.

To keep my mind occupied, I took off my earphones, listened to my breathing, and started to name my hills.

Swan Lake Hill was hit earlier and I ran it pretty well, so it got to keep the name that I gave it months ago. Sawmill toward Lead Mine, which is actually quite beautiful (but also a monster), became F F F Hill. There was meaning to the F’s, but I was too tired to sound them out, so I just repeated the letter until I made it to the top. Forum Drive, which is the road that passes my orthopedist, became Annoying Forum, because it rolls steeply up and down for a  good 3/4 of a mile. The hill at the end of Harbor, which is a breeze to go down, became I’m Almost Home Hill as I climbed it the other direction, with a mile left to go. Ashley Hill (named for my friend Ash, who helped me see I could run long distances thanks to her husband’s Garmin and her sparkling conversation), was run slowly, but with affection.

When I finally got home, I huffed and puffed my way up to the playroom. My mom was here and I heard the girls playing. While I was gone, Brian coughed (or something) and his back went out. He was laid out on the floor and Sophie had to get him the phone. I don’t happen to run with my phone (like I need another thing to carry), but had just been thinking it’s probably a good idea (I do run with an i.d.). Apparently, Brian called my mom who rushed over to help the poor guy out.

I spent the rest of the day on nursemaid’s duty, taking him food and microwaving the heat pad. This morning I woke to his cries for help. I was sleeping in the girls room when we heard him yell. The three of us immediately rushed in and found him lying on the floor. He had gotten out of bed to get his laptop, but the pain in his back made it impossible to get back up. I put my arms under his and used all my strength to pull up his 200 pound body. I could barely get his chest up onto the mattress, but once he was stable, I lifted his legs and covered them in blankets. I have a feeling there’s a hospital visit in my near future. There isn’t anything worse than back pain, though I imagine running 26.2 might be close.

My head keeps telling me that all this marathon training is going to pay off and everything will be great. My heart tells me I can do anything I set my mind to. My legs are protesting the mileage I’m putting on them, and my husband laid out in bed makes me question the lengths to which my own body can be pushed.

My stubborn streak is going to pull me through. Instead of being the thing that makes me, “difficult,” it’ll be the quality that makes a marathoner.

5 thoughts on “Stubborn Gene Necessary For Marathon Running

  1. I always thought my lungs would give out before my legs, but my legs always give out first. I’ve never heard the enjoy the first ten miles thing but it makes alot of sense. I typically spend the last few miles wondering why I signed myself up for this. I diagnose mysel with what I call ” Runners amnesia “, where upon finishing you forget what a pain it was and so do it again. Lol

    My hubby threw out his back about a month ago. That sucks. Hope he feels better!

  2. I read something from a pace team leader once that has stuck with me: “We’re going to run these first 10 miles with our heads, the second 10 miles with our legs, and the last six miles with our hearts. So during this first 10, run smart, run conservatively, run controlled.”

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