Saturday, January 31, 2009

Marathon Toe

I call it my marathon toe. It's my badge of honor, my battle wound. My proof that I did something big, and that it hurt. And my feet are ugly, aren't they? You can say it or think it. I know it's true. It's no wonder that long, finger-like second toe took it the hardest. That thing is obscene.
It's almost two weeks later and I've skill got this mark of pride. If my nail falls off, I just might frame it in a shadow box. I did it. I did it.

My journey started in September 2008. A little card arrived in the mail talking about joining something called Team in Training. The weather was beautiful in Colorado and I enjoyed running. Maybe I could run a 1/2 marathon by January. Just maybe. At the informational meeting I learned three things: 1) everyone there thought I should train for a full marathon, screw this half business 2) in exchange for training me and paying my way to the marathon, I'd have to raise (gasp!) $3,900 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 3) I'd be expected to train at 7:00 a.m. every Saturday morning for the next 17 weeks to prep for the marathon.

I thought long and hard. Well, not really. I just signed up. I could get out of it if I wanted, right? I mean I had never run more than a 10K and my fastest time at that was 54 minutes. I was no long distance runner and I was no speed demon. Who was I kidding.

But by that first training I was hooked.

And four months later I ran my first marathon - the Rock and Roll in Phoenix - with a time of 4:03. Immediately after the marathon I was bummed - couldn't I have squeezed in under 4 hours? Wouldn't any self respecting marathoner be able to do that? My hubby reminded me that my bar was set too high. Some of the only people I've know who have run marathons are maniacs and have finished sub-3 1/2 hours. I learned that is not the norm, and that my time was actually - well - a very good time for a first time out.

I was on a high. Quicker than I could stop doing the marathon shuffle (i.e., shuffling through the Phoenix airport, legs hurting, blister oozing, proudly wearing my medal - yes I wore it to the airport and on the plane - the flight attendant asked me if I had won the race - duh!) anyway, before the pus dried, I was setting my sites on the next marathon. Apparently not everyone likes to run long distances and make themselves susceptible to pain, blisters, blue toenails, diarrhea, cramps and dehydration, but I DO! And in the back of my mind I heard that subtle whisper - "If you did 4:03, you could certainly shave off 12 minutes and do 3:50:59 to qualify for Boston." Yes, you could.

So here is my aspiration. To keep training, to keep the runner's high going, to complete another marathon and to (hopefully) qualify for the grand daddy of them all - Boston 2010.

Won't you join me on this journey?

In the weeks leading up the marathon I gained so much inspiration from reading stories of first time marathoners, elite racers, anyone who had a marathon goal and met it somehow. I got transfixed (okay, obsessed) by the emotional/mental/spiritual component of reaching this goal. At some point your M/E/S state has to be strong and in tact in order to get to the finish line. I learned that the meditative quality of running and the space and time that running allowed me made me calmer, more able to manage my kids, my work. I slept better, my stomach felt better. My stress was less. In essence, running made my life better and me happier.

And I hope it has done that for you too. Stay tuned as I continue to experience the highs and lows of training. And work towards a goal that may or may not be reachable. But didn't someone important once say that it's not the destination line but the journey there that counts?


  1. Beth, I love your openness and your verve. Great read, thank you. -- Kathryn Wolf

    1. người, Nhạc Thành mới biết được trong lúc này có ba mươi sáu con đường nhỏ, mỗi một con đường nhỏ cũng là chỉ cao có 2m rộng 1m, chỉ có thể cho hai người đồng thời đi vào.

      Tam Tinh môn bát tinh Đấu Tông sắc mặt cảm thấy khó xử, cũng không biết rốt cuộc muốn đi đạo mônđồng tâm
      game mu
      cho thuê nhà trọ
      cho thuê phòng trọ
      nhac san cuc manh
      số điện thoại tư vấn pháp luật miễn phí
      văn phòng luật
      tổng đài tư vấn pháp luật
      dịch vụ thành lập công ty trọn gói
      chém gió nào là an toàn nhất, hoặc đạo môn nào có bảo vật, cho nên sắc mặt không khỏi do dự bất định, cũng không biết làm quyết định như thế nào.

      Nhạc Thành đánh giá ba mươi sáu con đường, cũng là nhìn không ra đầu mối, ba mươi sáu đường môn toàn bộ là giống như đúc, cũng không có bất kỳ một cánh cửa nào, chiều cao chiều rộng cũng giống như át sau, bát tinh Đấu Tông nhìn chăm chú mọi người, tựa hồ là làm ra quyết định gì, lập tức nói:

      - Mọi người phân biệt tiến vào, mọi người được Tam Tinh môn mời tới, nếu tìm được bảo vật, sau đó nhất định phải cho Tam Tinh môn ta biết trước, các ngươi chỉ là mỗi người lấy như nhau mà thôi, ở chỗ này ai cũng đều cũng có một phần, nếu có người dám tư tàng, thì Tam Tinh môn sẽ không bỏ qua.

      Nói xong, bát tinh Đấu Tông liền để cho mọi người tự mình đi tìm cửa tiến vào, tại đây tổng cộng ba mươi sáu đường môn, trong đó số người khoảng bốn mươi người, mỗi

  2. I LOVE this! By the way, you should probably know that my friend Heather's first marathon was a 3:45. Her current best? 2:45. She's a marathon trials qualifier. My point is that you ran a real good 1st marathon and you will get even better. To be perfectly frank, you can get to the 3.5 hour mark you are currently impressed with. The only catch is that you'll still be looking to get faster. That's the beauty and paradoxical irony of this sport. Looking forward to seeing your doings on this.

  3. You go Beth, and I'll follow your journey every step of the way! We still need a post-marathon celebratory coffee...or cocktail! :-)

  4. Maybe before the cocktail we could get a pedicure...not that you want to hide your badge of honor!

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  11. wow you trained for a 4 hour marathon in four months! you give me hope!!

  12. Maybe before the cocktail we could get a pedicure...not that you want to hide your badge of honor! happy wheels