Posted by: grasshopperme | February 28, 2012

And that about sums it up…

“It was one of those times you feel a sense of loss, even though you didn’t have something in the first place. I guess that’s what disappointment is- a sense of loss for something you never had.”    ―      Deb Caletti

And that about sums it up. I have been struggling with preparing for my first half marathon for the better part of  February. Early in the month, I strained a hamstring during a weight workout that cost me two and a half weeks of training time running. Only this past Thursday, I received the all clear to begin testing the leg again. A short run around a local  park after work followed by 6 miles this weekend began to boost  my confidence that the injury would not be a deal breaker. Then the chest cold arrived :-(. Even slowing my pace I can feel the weakness in my lungs come on quickly and the slightest irregularity in breathing brings on fits of coughing followed by LONG walk breaks.

Those of you who know me, or even those who only have read my posts, know I am not a natural runner. I am not fast, I don’t have superior endurance skills, I don’t even particularly enjoy it. I have never experienced that transcendent “runners high” that so many of my friends have described. But I recognize its beneficial place in my fitness routine, and I have come to enjoy the various events I enter both for the social camaraderie and as a chance to rise to new challenges.

Prior to this, my longest event has been  a 10K. This is the most prep/training time I have ever allowed myself for an event, and I had seen a lot of early progress and started to allow myself to get excited about seeing (for me) a better pace than some of my more impulsive entries. While I am under no illusions I will ever end up on a podium, the thought of not actually being able to finish an event had not occurred to me. …until now.

Intellectually, I can see that this is not a tragedy. Well-meaning friends keep encouraging me to see the fact that I am exercising at all as the accomplishment. “You couldn’t have considered running half a mile 200 lbs ago, let alone a half marathon.” Well, that is true. And maybe it should be enough to look at what I have done already, vs what my 400lb self would have attempted, and see that as the achievement. But the competitive, obsessive, perfectionist Capricorn that dwells in the recesses of this former athlete’s brain sees that as an easy “out” and can’t help but be slightly disgusted by the suggestion.

There will be other races, maybe even other half marathons, but right now I find myself consumed by the fact that, no matter what, I’m always going to remember how disappointed I was by my first…in my experience, in my preparation, in my expectations, and in myself. And that about sums it up.

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