Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

Today, I present you with a list of things I have learned and experienced in my first 6 weeks of training for the Illinois Marathon.  I will even bullet this list to make it seem important.
  • Things almost never go according to plan.
  • I did not include a "Flu Week" in my original training plan.  I was made painfully aware of this oversight.
  • The flu vaccine is less than 50% effective at preventing flu this season.
  • It's very difficult to run when you have a 101° fever, head-to-toe muscle aches, and an overwhelming urge to never ever get out of bed.
  • Never underestimate the healing power of Girl Scout Cookies. Especially the peanut butter ones. And especially the ones that magically materialize in your mailbox thanks to a sneaky and loyal friend (you know who you are).
  • The first post-flu run can make an experienced runner feel like she is just learning to walk.
  • It is possible to come back from illness even stronger than before.
Flu bug nastiness aside, my training for the Illinois Marathon has been going exceptionally well.

Maybe a little too well.

I mean, I know it was my plan to go for another sub-4:00 marathon.  But now that I'm actually training for it, and my training is going even better than my training for Lakefront 2011, I'm starting to get nervous. I'm actually going to have to do this. And it's going to hurt.

The last time I ran a sub-4:00 marathon (and incidentally, the only time), it was a beautiful, crisp fall day in Milwaukee, and everything, I mean everything, was on my side that day. The wind was at my back, the temperature was near perfect, the course was a net downhill (though, to be fair, there was still plenty of uphill).  I had also just been crowned the Bung Queen by Lakefront Brewery the day before the marathon.  Nothing could go wrong. I was Bung Queen, for crying out loud!  I ran the race of my life that day, and it was the most physically demanding thing I have ever done, even in perfect conditions.

But what if the stars and planets don't align this time around? What if it's 80° and pouring rain, or 20° with 25mph wind? What if I'm not crowned the Bung Queen???  What if.... what if.... what if?  Will I be well-trained enough to pull off a sub-4:00 in less-than-ideal conditions?

These are the voices in my head that could spiral out of control if I let them. But there will always be more marathons. Heck, I'm already signed up for a fall marathon.  If Illinois doesn't go according to plan, due to forces beyond my control, I'll pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back to work so I can try again in the fall. That is the beauty of running, and of life in general.

We may get knocked down, but we can always get back up again.

And admit it; now you have that song stuck in your head. You're welcome!

Peace. Love. Train.

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