5 miles into my 18 mile long run today, woods all around me, and I had to pee so freakin’ badly — I couldn’t go any further. In that moment I realized…..I’m gonna have to learn how to pee in the woods. OR figure out what other female Marathon runners do in training.
I called my husband for the first time EVER in all the running I have done for the Half and the Full, and have him come pick me up. Pluck me up from the side of the woodsy road, and take me to the nearest rest room. From mile 3 to mile 5, I was on the lookout for a 7-11 store or a port-o-potty, somewhere….anywhere. But Nothing. I knew this run was going to be a bust. I think it was the cold temps or something, but it sucked. Sucked big.
Driving home from a busted run is a pathetic experience. I felt like such a loser. From the passenger seat I watched the miles roll by out the window. Climbing up the HILL in the car is when I realized that today, I didn’t even earn myself an Ice Bath. No aches or pains to show my accomplishments. It took everything I had not to let my broken spirit shatter into a million pieces.
“Shake it off. Weird stuff happens“. That’s what the email said from Marathon Brian, in response to my sad little update I sent him this morning. My little call for help — an attempt to salvage myself from an emotional breakdown. It worked. I held myself together. As I write, I’m still working not to blame myself, and hate on myself. My over-active brain is just spinning, and grinding, and thinking and over-reacting. But in the midst of all the noise and annoyance — I heard something that feels real. Something that feels like the REAL thing that caused today.
For the past week, my elephant-never-forgets-brain has been repeating something I heard Marathon Brian say a long time ago in a conversation that I don’t even remember. But I remember what he said. He said, “Once I ran the 18 miler, I knew I could do the Marathon.”
All week I have been trying to convince myself that this 18 miles would be OK. That it would be exciting…..yada yada yada. I tried to down play it. I tried to make it a happy thought and a smaller deal than it was. But in the end, here is the truth……I’m afraid to run the 18 -miler.
I’m afraid of failing at it. Because if I can’t run the 18-miler, then that means that I can’t run the Marathon….and I’ve been kidding myself all this time, thinking that I could be something I’m not.
And I’m afraid of succeeding too. Because if I finish 18-miler, then I have to do the 20. And then the 22. And eventually the Marathon. And as much as I WANT to do it — it S.C.A.R.E.S. me too. I’ve never really let myself do scary things before. Hiding from scary things (on the couch) has been my M.O. All of this, all the miles, not just the 18-miler, has been outside of my comfort zone. But this week, I’m feeling the fear. I’m fighting the urge to run away from the fear. To run back to the couch.
I have to relax. Relax my thoughts. Relax my feelings. Relax my expectations of myself. And not let the Fear consume me. Fear of Failing and Fear of Success overwhelmed me today. And I mustn’t let them lead me to Quit. I mustn’t let this slip through my fingers.
In two weeks, I will face the 18-miler again. I’m going to pee in the damn woods IF I HAVE TO. Because, I want to finish what I have started here. And as I write this, struggling to see through my tears, I know One thing, and One thing only. I don’t want to let my Fear mold me into a Quitter. Because that is one thing — regardless of how much I have ever weighed, or how long I have spent on the couch — a Quitter is something I have never been. And I’m NOT about to start now.
Ciao for now….Diane