I find myself impatient to start.
All last night, all I could think about as I knocked out another 40 pages of NRMT was MAN I wanna start NOW! I kept getting irritated that it wasn’t morning yet, and I couldn’t go run right that minute. I think I’m afraid I’m going to lose the fire. I think I’ve pretty well decided I’m gonna do this marathon thing…to back out now, even in its infancy, would be a betrayal. And already, I find my attitude towards running changing. It’s changed in the last ten days. I used to think only about when I could respectably get away with a walking break. Now, it’s “let’s just see.” As in, “I wanna walk, but let’s just see how much farther I can go.” I think I’ve found a rhythm.
I think I knew right away that I was going to do it. I know me, and I like to take on challenges that seem like they’re right on the edge of what I’m capable of…and then going for it. The Camino was like that for me. This Peace Corps thing is the same way. As I flipped through that book on George and Abbey’s couch, I knew from the description of the program that I was holding in my hands the only external tool I needed to achieve this goal (well…and my running shoes…but they were on my feet at the time). The only thing I needed that the book couldn’t provide was dedication and grit. And I always think of myself as slightly lacking determination and grit. Why?? I don’t think it’s actually true. Why do I always think of myself as not-quite-as-tough as other people? I think others see me as pretty capable. Anyone who followed my Camino would probably say I could do anything. I’m sure my family feels that way.
Whatever the reason, maybe it’s not such a bad thing…because I don’t like the thought of being a wimp…and in a circuitous sort of poetic justice, that very aversion is what makes me force myself into endeavors like this. And my innate Engelen nature makes me HATE losing. So therefore…here I am.
I mean, listening to G&A talk about the amazing feeling of accomplishment one gets from crossing a marathon finish line…and knowing how I stare wonderingly into cars with those 26.2 stickers on the back…and observing from my father, my brother, and my marathon cousin Jimmy that the running genes are there, obvious or not…it just all seems like just the kind of thing I need to truly shift my self-perception into a place where I see myself as truly…kick-ass, for lack of a better term.
Anyway. I’m still just starting out in this. I mean, I’m still in “pre-training” phase, according to The Book. I still have to work my way up to a reliable ability to run three miles straight. This morning I think I got to two…before external forces beyond my control SCREWED MY RUN. Sigh. And now, tonight, I am as impatient for tomorrow’s “mulligan run” as I was last night for this morning’s attempt. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be 80 degrees at 7am. Hot, but not impossible. We’ll see how I do. I’m going to take a new route, one that RunKeeper tells me is an even 5K.
George’s words: “It’s just so cool to cross that finish line and know that the only other thing I have to do that day is lay around and bask in wonder at this thing I’ve just done.”
Also, regarding the final finisher in his Hawaii marathon, an elderly gentleman who crossed the finish line at about 19 hours, long after George had finished, crossed the island for dinner, come back to his hotel room, and turned on the late news: “Even if you finish LAST…with some astronomical time…even THAT is something people applaud you wildly for…because they know you had to overcome something monumental to even attempt this in the first place.”
Now…if this is an endeavor in which LAST PLACE is still KICK-ASS…and I know I’m genetically incapable of quitting mid-race…how can I turn away from it?
PS – Two years ago today, I left home for my Camino. Even the timing has some poetic justice, doesn’t it?