TITLE NOTE: This blog post has nothing to do with love or marriage or Meatloaf. (Sorry?) The only other semi-appropriate lyric from today’s title song “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” is “I’d run right into hell and back.” But I wouldn’t.
A lot of people think I’m crazy. In a typical week I run four times, box twice, and
lose play a game or two of soccer in a co-ed rec league. When I can, I sneak in a lazy yoga class, which isn’t very often. My running friends can’t believe I hit people, my boxing friends think I’m insane to pound so much pavement, and my entire soccer team shakes their heads in disbelief as I run my pre- and post-game laps around the field. Yoga peeps don’t seem to judge me, at least not out loud, but my high school students (and colleagues!) are very vocal about my sweatiness. Most conversations start with “Why…??” and end with a look that screams, “My teacher is cray cray!”
I train a lot (too much lately, apparently). I’ve run marathons, ultra marathons, and one lonely triathlon, but many of my sweaty friends have wayyyyyy fewer marbles than I, and based on recent experiences, I’ve decided that there two things I will not do. Read on.
Run 100 miles
When you run trails there seems to be a lot of pressure to leg up and race ultra marathons. I myself have run two 50Ks – Run for Regis and the Buckeye Trail 50K, and I’m planning to add another to my race schedule this winter. Next year you might even see me bibbing it up at a 50 miler (gasp!). HOWEVER, this girl finds 100 miles to be certifiably sick. Four marathons? Back to back? Non merci.
I crewed at the Burning River 100 for one of the most dynamic, energetic people I know. Although I had a blast following him around for 29 hours, shoving Ramen noodles down his throat, and pacing him in the dark woods without a headlamp, I witnessed first-hand the destruction your body – and mind – experiences on such a journey. I saw a lot of brokenness where I usually look for strength, and it shook me to the core. The atmosphere of support at the finish line and the runners’ final push to the end brought a steady flow of tears to my eyes, and words cannot adequately describe how I felt watching Kevin cross the finish line – confident, strong, and beaming – after fearing a DNF for hours and thinking he had absolutely nothing left.
I am in awe of my 100-miler friends. You are infinitely more badass than I, and you do the work every day…HOWEVER I am not ready to hop on the 8-missing-toenails train. I do, however, love to make signs, skip ahead of zombie runners, and drink coffee while acting a fool. So if you are in need of a crew, call me. I’ll even smile every time you say, “Oh, you run 50Ks? That’s cute.”
Do an Ironman
Normally my mantra is “Make time, not excuses.” The background of my phone reads, “Someone busier than you is running right now.” No matter how full your day, I wholeheartedly believe that you can find the time to add a little sweatiness into your life. You might have to get up before dawn, run on your lunch, or drag the kids along with you, but it’s possible. It’s a choice you make and a committment you keep, just as you would an allergist appointment…or the season finale of Breaking Bad.
This weekend I travelled to America’s Roller Coast and spent Sunday morning dragging unwilling, frightened children on all my favorite rides at Cedar Point, then headed over to the run course of the Rev3 Ironman. From a grassy corner not far from the lake, a few friends and I – armed with clever signs and sporting puffy-painted shirts – cheered until our throats were raw. We were technically there to support/crew for our friend Matt, but the course had so many switchbacks (and was two loops) that we saw each athlete about six times and became everyone’s biggest fans. We gave people nicknames, complimented outfits, kept them running, offered roast beef sandwiches, and flirted with every man in spandex that ran/shuffled/stumbled by. And some of the women. It was a long day, and towards the end our cheering skills were getting sloppy. Kat, who enjoyed cheering on the Ironmen while lying on the grass – accidentally called to a guy, “You might look like ass, but you feel great!” Kelly and I got slaphappy and came up with ridiculous sayings for our next signs, and I lamented the absence of tutus and my lack of gymnastics/cheerleading skills while shoving handfuls of pretzel M&Ms in my mouth…even though I found them disgusting. When Kelly headed off to run Matt’s last miles with him, Kat and I commandeered her Orangemobile and continued screaming motivational cheesiness from the open windows on our way back to the park.
The finish line was overwhelming. It was getting dark, and the rain fell intermittently as runners trudged through the last point six of their 140.6. Their names were announced as they crossed the finish line, and many had friends and family join them for the last final push. I got emotional watching
strangers familiar faces accomplish such an enormous goal, and as always I was amazed and proud of the atypical athletes – people whose shapes and sizes may not scream “Ironman” to the rest of the world and who stand as proof of the power of a focused mind, a dream decided, and a registration click.
HOWEVER (lots of howevers today), despite the awesome, motivational, and inspiring weekend I had at Rev3, I am not willing to sacrifice the time required to train for an Ironman. Notice I didn’t say I can’t make the time; I said I am unwilling to do so. The “easiest” (ha!) training plan I found called for EIGHTEEN HOURS of training in peak week, with scary demands like “1900 swim ladder” and a six hour bike ride. Non merci. A half ironman is totally within my sights, but I’m going to pass on the full. Let me know when you’re doing one, though. I’ll make some signs. And wear a tutu this time.
**DISCLAIMER** At one point I remember saying that I would never run a marathon. Or ANOTHER marathon. Or an ultra. Or ANOTHER ultra. So…as Biebs (and now T. Swift) so poignantly states NEVER SAY NEVER. (:
Random conclusion drawn from my crewing/spectating this year: I think TRAINING for an Ironman is more work, but RUNNING a 100-miler seems harder. Thoughts?