Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's a... 'fficial!

I paused a few seconds before finally clicking "submit" on my marathon registration the other day. I'd told myself if my 18-mile long run over the weekend found me still capable of maintaining a vertical position come Monday (which it did), I would make it official. I didn't have much choice anyway as the deadline to register was only three days away. It was time to put up or shut up. So, I clicked. And I'm happy to report the ensuing panic only lasted five minutes or so. In the wee morning hours of Saturday, September 15th, I'll be taking the first step of another inevitably remarkable experience. I'm nervous. I'm anxious. I'm excited.

Since that moment, I've been thinking about training for and running a marathon and how much it compares to being pregnant and giving birth. I've done the latter twice now and although it's been over seven years since I last did it, I consider myself relatively knowledgeable on the subject. Humor me, if you will, while I explain the similarities I'm seeing.

Committing to training for a marathon is like discovering you're pregnant. Emotions abound, but probably the most prevalent of them is apprehension. How will this change my life? Will I be able to keep up with the demands? Does this mean I have to get out of bed at insanely early hours of the morning?

Things settle a bit once you get under way and become adapted to the idea this is really going to happen. You fall into a routine of doing what's necessary to remain strong and healthy. You start eating differently-- usually more-- and justify it as part of reaching the ultimate goal in the best way possible. Restful sleep becomes one of your most treasured possessions when you're able to get it. You might become a little grouchy, usually because at any given moment of any given day, something hurts. Sometimes, it's a little difficult to bend over or sit down without grunting or wincing in pain, but you embrace the changes you see in your body. There are days when you feel on top of the world, knowing you are in the process of doing something extraordinary.

You read everything you can possibly get your hands on. You study. You prepare. You become obsessed with timelines and can narrow down exactly how many weeks you have left to go until the ultimate goal is made a reality. Fear takes hold of you occasionally and you may break down in tears at your lack of confidence in yourself and your ability to actually do this. But you move forward and every day you gain a little more certainty, a little more belief.

Your goal starts to consume the way you view yourself as a whole. You find yourself talking to anyone who even shows the slightest bit of interest about your routine and the specific ins-and-outs of your daily journey. Support and encouragement become more important than ever and you seek it wherever you can find it. After months and months of preparation, you finally reach the point where you are absolutely ready. There is nothing left to be done. If you're not prepared now, you never will be.

But then, when that moment of truth finally arrives, panic sets in at full force. You consider changing your mind and just going home. But your body knows what to do and somehow, the resolve of so desperately wanting to achieve the goal you've been working toward so long overrides everything else. You settle in and you bear down for the long haul. You make it happen.

And when it's over and your goal is realized, the tears come again. You instantly forget the weariness and pain that wracked your body just minutes before as your relief and exuberance consume your whole being. There will be a significant need for recovery, but your life is forever changed. You don't know if you'll ever want do it again, but you're pretty sure this feeling will last with you for the rest of your life.

One month from today. Four and a half weeks. I'll be so ready.

(Now, when do I get that epidural?...)


robison52 said...

Gosh, I feel pregnant today!! Does future pregnancies get any easier like marathoning? Which marathon will you be running? Any time goal? Enquiring minds want to know!!

Tall Girl Running said...

Do pregnanices get easier? I'd have to say that's a resounding NO, especially when you factor in aging. But I guess like marathons, every pregnancy is different with its own set of ups and downs.

I'm running the Top of Utah marathon in Logan, Utah (see the link to the right). I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a time goal in mind, but considering all the bouncing back I've had to do recently, I don't anticipate I'll blow away my PR. Anything below it would be considered a success.

Kind of like saying, "I don't care if it's a boy or a girl, I just want a healthy baby".


See Zanne Run said...

angie ... i am totally with you here! I think the whole training and then running the marathon is EXACTLY like being pregnant & giving birth! Only your body looks way better once the "birth" is over!!

Anonymous said...

I hear it's important to know when to push too. :-P

Ovens2Betsy said...

Okay, so I've never given birth (and at 43, don't intend to do so!!!), but from what I hear there's another similarity between the two: at the end aren't you a bit stinky and sweaty and perhaps have tinkled a bit? (NOT that that happened to ME during my marathon training run)


Izzy said...

Great analogy, I totally agree, I hope it takes less time than my other births and please tell me it is not as painful. I also hope it doesn't take 6 weeks to recover from. So glad you are officially signed up, another partner in pain. Congrats

Steve A. said...

What a wonderful post!!! and congrats to you for your leap of faith!! If I had a dollar for every mile you'll run that day, I'd have 26 bucks and some change. Congrats again on your success to date, and your successes to come!!

Jim said...

That is a way cool analogy and right on the money. (From what I've seen anyway. Obviously I have not and do not plan to get pregnant any time soon. But I DID experience it through my wife who did it three times.) Just think of those cliff shots and gu gels as another shot of demoral! You make us proud with your spunky determination..

Joe said...

Good luck! That's always an anxious moment when your mouse pointer is hovering over the submit button.

Chad said...

Good luck! I've never thought of a marathon as a pregnancy of sorts . . . hmmm

Did you ever convince your sisters to run with you?

Charlie said...

Congratulations Angie! Here is hoping you have a very healthy baby!


Laurel said...

Ha, I have often thought of this comparison, it makes perfect sense to me.

Well put. And congrats on registering.