So I’m a dumb-dumb and woke up Saturday and decided to run a marathon Sunday. With that said, I’m broken. I don’t know how you do all those ultras.
The main question I’m getting right now is “Why?”
I don’t know. I just felt like I needed to see if I could do it.
It was fucking miserable.
It started in the pouring rain, but it was about 50 degrees. So, I shed my coat and ran. Then it got sunny. It was actually quite pleasant while I was running around Seward park and Lake Washington.
Then the rain and the hills started.
At one point I realized I didn’t really need to do anything other than finish.
So I walked.
I mean, I didn’t exactly train for this. I might run every day-ish, but I def didn’t do any long runs over 18 miles in the past well, three years.
Marathons are like tattoos. You need to forget how much they hurt before you do another one.
So I walked. I played this game where I would start running and count to 100, or wait for a good song to end. At some point Pandora started fucking up a lot so I picked from the 4 albums downloaded to my phone.
Let’s just say that Lord Huron got me through about 14 miles of the marathon.
Everything hurts today.
Who hurt you fashion boy?
There’s a dark cloud above your head
Who hurt you sadboy?
You act like you’re already dead
But you think too much
Probably drink too much
But, I had some really nice moments to myself while I was testing my limits.
In the beginning each song that came on Pandora reminded me of people and I tried to take that memory energy and run with it.
Early on, a Helio Sequence song came on and I thought of Joy, the woman who rented me my first house in Seattle. Until the day I die, I will carry “You only regret the risks you don’t take,” with me. Those were her pearls of wisdom she delivered during an hour long phone conversation as we secured details across the country for my sublet.
At mile 4, it was “Wolf like me” and I thought about running around my college town, and my friend Kaitlin who gave me free tickets for Lollapalooza one year where TV on the Radio performed.
Then later at 9, “‘Cause I’m a Man” from Tame Impala made me think of my favorite barista, who coincidentally I had told the previous day that I was about to sign up to run the marathon. I used the idea of this great human to keep one foot moving in front of the other.
Next it was “Settle” by Vera Blue and you know what… It’s been suggested that I settle for things.
At Thanksgiving my father told me that I’m never satisfied, implying that maybe I should just settle. My coworker has also suggested that I settle for the next romantic partner that comes along.
I don’t think I can though.
I can’t settle for a person that doesn’t make me want to be the best version of myself. I can’t settle for a job that bores me or makes me cry at my desk.
I think one of the major challenges I’ve faced is that I just don’t know what it is that I am looking for, be it a person, vocation or whatever.
But I’m working on it. I’m conditioning myself so that when the whim calls, I can do it. I’m trying to take advantage of the time and people in my life to figure out what it all means, and where it is supposed to go. I’m learning as much as I can about how, and why the world works.
Clearly, I wasn’t going to win the marathon, but I was going to finish no matter what.
First, the 3:45 pacers passed me and I was like, okay, that’s fine. And then the 3:50, then the 4:00. I am sure I grimaced when the 4:10 passed but at that point it wasn’t so much about the time as finishing what I started.
It’s hard to do that- finish what you start. I have struggled with that theme across all my efforts in life.
It seems so confusing, especially when you compare yourself to others. How can some people have such a defined goal or endpoint of what they want to achieve while you feel still feel so unsure after all this time?
While I was running, or walking and counting to 100 then running again, I had the crystal clear realization that I am doing just fine.
I’m doing what works for me, and it’s incredible.
I need time. I take it for myself. My ideas can’t be forced. I figure things out when I’m out running, or riding the bus. The way I work, express myself creatively or whatever is magic and it’s mine alone.
I moved across the country, alone. I found a job. I left that one and found a better one. That didn’t work out, but I managed to survive. I have opted to phase people out of my life that aren’t good for me. I have tried, in my own way to seek out people who inspire me to be a better version of yourself.
Here’s the best cheesy metaphor- life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
How fucking true.
And you don’t have to do it for anyone else. Unless you are a super human you are probably not going to win it, and that’s okay.
You have to get through fatigue and pain and freezing rain pellets in a method that only belongs to you.
So you do it, alone. You have to figure out the cadence that works for your mind, and your body. It’s okay to walk if you need to. It’s okay to dash down an hill backed by the momentum of the slope. It’s okay to sing out loud, and high-five little kids.
I think I just wanted to feel connected to myself. Sure, I revel in all this solitude, but I just wanted to see what it felt like to try it. Also, I wanted to surround myself with other people with the same need.
For the last mile, it was “Frozen Pines,” and my body hurt, and I was dangerously cold and wet and miserable but I trudged on, singing out loud to myself like a lunatic. That song has always tugged on those ephemeral strings, especially I’m gonna find a way through there’s another life beyond the line.
And I made it to the line. And two of my friends were there and they even made a sign. And they held me up as I walked around the recovery area, run drunk in my space blanket.
So, yeah! I can do whatever I want. It might not be pretty. It might not be quick. But, I can do it if I tell myself that I am going to.
I almost feel like I could quit writing you these letters. I’m pretty sure you’re not reading them anymore.
But I kind of like them.
Being vulnerable in writing is a risk in it’s own right.
I’ll keep writing until I don’t feel like I need to do it anymore.