Shortly after writing Friday's post, in which I said I wasn't doing the Flying Monkey Marathon (I wrote the post Thursday night), I decided to check flights just one last time.
Plane ticket, itinerary that worked for me: $230. The cheapest I'd seen it for all the months I'd been checking. Travelocity hooked me up with a cheap rental car and a cheap room at the local Hyatt and I was headed to Nashville Saturday afternoon. After all, as my sister told me (several times), "You should be spending your money on experiences, not objects." It's like she knew about the Anthropologie jacket I bought last week that I was feeling kind of guilty about (it's cute, though, right?).
So I ran the race.
Let me start with this:
There are things I read in running blogs so often that I've started to see them as almost cliche. These include:
-"I dug deep"
-"I gutted it out"
-"I checked in with my body to see if I could hold this pace" (when one's body responds ("my legs said yes, or I think so") is when I convulse in a fit of giggles)
I find these things to be cliche mostly because I don't do them. I have none of what you might call "grit." I have a tenacity that defies all logic and a dogged persistence, but I AM NOT A TALENTED RUNNER.
And, I was in a rut. If you read my Chicago report, you know where this origins of this rut started. New York was a high point, but I underperformed - or, more accurately, I performed exactly where my training would put me, which is not where I want to be. I'm disappointed with my running lately.
So why did I do this race? Well, like the race director said when I emailed him (on Wednesday), explaining my rut and bowing out of the race, "I have always found Monkey to break the funk. Criminy :("
And it did end my rut. It was beautiful. It was torturous. It was a race you run not for time, but for the pure and unadulterated love of running. It's just you, a gorgeous park, other like-minded people running for the joy of it, and beer at the end. A race you run to remember how good it feels when it's just you and the road, even if the road beats you up a little (or a lot). A race... I'll stop now, before I devolve into cliche (too late?). But it was amazing and awesome and satisfying and well worth the trip.
So, marathon #8 is done. And I'm technically qualified to join the Marathon Maniacs at the bronze level if I'm so inclined.
Tomorrow: the race itself.
On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"