In my personal view, running the marathon itself is the best part. It's the part that's the most fun. It's the climax to 18 weeks or more of intense training - an epitomization, in many ways, of the work one has put in to get ready for a singular moment: crossing that finish line after running 42.2 km.
Training for those marathons, on the other hand, is - and others might disagree with me on this point - well, less fun. It's the work. I mean, who likes to do work, am I right? Yes, it's necessary. Absolutely. But some days, and because it's "necessary", it can feel "mandatory"... which, frankly, can suck the joy right out of running.
Knowing these things, having been in this position before, I've taken a more relaxed approach to training for number five. My overall attitude: work hard but, if certain things don't work out? Ah well! Illness, injury, work, family, busy-ness, overall malaise, life in general... shit happens.
What I've come to know is this: worrying excessively about how well I'm marathon training on top of being stressed over life can be brutal. If I think I'm not doing enough, running enough, not being fast enough, not eating well enough - it makes me feel bad. It makes me think I'm a failure. So guess what? I'm not gonna do it. I'm gonna remind myself that no, I'm not perfect, but I'm trying - really hard. And then I'm gonna take the small wins every day because, really, what else is there? We, as individuals, need to celebrate our own accomplishments and recognize, ourselves, when we've done a good job. We can't rely on others to do that for us; that confidence has to come from within, no?
When I was running number three in Saint John, because it was such a small marathon, there were huge stretches of distance where I would be all by myself. And it wasn't a great race for me as I was undertrained and did not pace well at all. Being alone out there, it would have been so easy to just give up, to stop completely. I only had myself - and my thoughts - to rely on. Long story short, I struggled. But I made it.
My dad had this relaxed way about himself, and living life. I think it irritated my mom sometimes, who has always been a little more high strung (guess that's where my personality comes from). When I get stressed, I ought to think to myself: "What would my dad do?" Probably have a rest. Play some guitar. Watch some TV. And basically, chill the fuck out, a little.
Fans of the TV show This Is Us will certainly remember this conversation between Miguel and Kevin. Also, if you're not watching this show, you totes need to be. (GIF cred: TV Fanatic)
Be kind to yourselves, friends. Enjoy your Sunday.