Should I run a full marathon? That is the question.
I started running in 2006, I believe. Elissa Watts, an old Firwood buddy, asked Lisi and me to run the Vancouver Sun Run (April or May of 2007, I think). It’s a 10K. I laughed. I scoffed. I thought it was the stupidest idea ever.
A little history. I have been a perfectionist all my life. Really, even in kindergarten, my teacher told my mom that she knew just how to deal with me…. I was just like her daughter, a perfectionist. So, I got to leave the ‘normal’ kindergarten class to a special reading and writing class and an art class. I think Mrs. G knew I was bored with toys, naptime and silly art projects. Not that I was brilliant, I wasn’t. I just wasn’t like all the other kids. I liked doing more challenging things, as any small child would. You ask a room full of kindergartener’s if they can sing, or dance or do anything and the entire class will raise their hands…. cause they literally do know how to sing and dance. Fast forward to highschool and you ask a room full or highschooler’s the same question. Maybe one or two students will say they can sing or dance. And those two kids are in the drama class and choir. The older and more insecure kids get, the more they think that they can’t do something unless they have actual talent. But let’s face it, highschoolers CAN sing and dance. Everyone can. My point? In kindergarten, I could do anything…. in highschool, I dropped out of any sport or activity if I wasn’t the best at it or a natural. I didn’t want to work hard at being good at volleyball, I wanted to be a natural talent. It wasn’t that I couldn’t work hard, I had great work ethic…. I just beat myself up over and over about any fly ball I missed at a softball game, or a grounder that got past me. It embarrassed me. It would ruin my attitude for the rest of the game. I just couldn’t give myself the freedom to make a mistake. I think I finished one season of softball in highschool without quitting. Maybe two. I quit track and volleyball. I still can’t believe I had the nerve to try out for Concert Choir and Girl’s Group Choir.
After I married Son in 2005, we decided to try snowboarding. I was hesitant. I didn’t want to be disappointed. The first time I went up, I decided that I couldn’t complain. Not once. I just had to push through and make sure Son had a great day at the mountain. I did sooooo good, until I did my first face plant. It hurt SO bad. In fact, it hurt for 3 months afterwards. Now that I knew the pain falling could cause, I lost all nerve. I would get off the chairlift and just stand at the top of the hill, crying. Trying to get up the nerve to ride. 10 minutes would go by…. 15 minutes would go by… finally I would get the nerve, but would purposely fall on my rear end 10 feet down. And so it continued. We kept going…. I heard that after 3 times on the mountain, snowboarding would start to make sense. Balance would improve. Snow would start to feel more natural under the board. It did. I was thrilled. Fast forward – Elissa asking us to run the Sun Run. I thought, “I DON’T RUN!!!” But snowboarding was starting to give this perfectionist the freedom to fall down… and get up. And not be embarrassed about it.
Lisi and I started training for the race. I could barely run a mile without stopping to walk. I thought I would die. I seriously couldn’t imagine running 10 kilometers. By the time the race came around, I don’t think we had even tackled 4 miles yet. Lisi was already a seasoned runner. She was so nice to run at my pace with me. I remember mile 3, going over a bridge in Vancouver, I started crying… I was still running. I was so incredibly proud of myself. I finished the entire race without stopping or walking. One hour and eight minutes. I was hooked.
So, yesterday I completed my first 30K. That’s 18.6 miles. Just like my first Sun Run, I had never run that mileage before. 15 miles was my farthest distance before yesterday. It was a terrible day. I mean, I finished it… My time wasn’t bad. But my body was having a bad day. Whatever. Now I know, I can do it! I never thought I could run farther than a mile a few years ago. BUT, the thought of running EIGHT MORE MILES to complete a full marathon SOUNDS TERRIBLE. But it’s only 8 miles. In the scheme of things, that’s nothing.
As a recovering perfectionist, I know I can do a full marathon and not be disappointed in a slower time than I am hoping for. But will I enjoy it? I certainly did not enjoy yesterday’s run. Am I a happy half marathoner? Probably. I love that distance.
I have time to think about it. My friend Shelly, my sister Lisi and my Aunt Lizzie very much inspire me. They have no boundaries, no hesitations, no disappoinments. They are running machines and proof that trying will get you to where you want to go. This recovering perfectionist just needs to keep trying.
Only 8 more miles.