To say I’ve been struggling is an understatement. Death and destruction have taken tolls on me, and a lot of uncertainties continue to wreak havoc. I’ve had a lot of low points in the last two months.
But despite everything that continues to suck joy out of my life, my internal optimist is really trying to surface. That little voice has been telling me to look at races, to look to the future, to look ahead to a time when everything is not crashing down on me. Maybe Grandpa’s positive thinking is reaching through other-worldly barriers to me.
This morning, I was supposed to be running the Marine Corps Marathon. It was to be my comeback after many (many) months of IT band pain and the subsequent decision to stop running and make myself get used to life without it. I did kind of get used to it, and bicycling filled some of the gap. But I had a lot of unfinished business and unmet goals in running, which haunted me to the point that I decided to try again. In August, I ran my first race in 20 months and was on track to get just enough training in to finish the marathon 10 weeks later. I was not going to run MCM for time. In fact, I was pondering the idea of stopping for photos, something I don’t do in marathons (except for the grand piano at Big Sur).
Everything came to a sudden halt when I broke my thumb. I had surgery two weeks later, at the same time my grandfather’s Parkinson’s suddenly got worse.
Now, both of those events continue to have trickle-down effects. The juggling of cross-continent family schedules will continue (seriously; my family is spread out between six hours of time zones). Meanwhile, I am out of shape. I can’t bike, I can’t go to Body Pump or lift weights, I can’t hold an elliptical handlebar, and after two miles of running I have to stop for air and to try calming my thumb’s swelling.
But here’s the thing: I have no leg pain when I run.
And here’s another thing I hadn’t quite realized until I had to cancel the marathon: I am happier if I have a race on the calendar. [I actually do have two scheduled for next summer, but one isn’t until August and the other was a cheap enough deal that I won’t mind too much if I have to cancel.]
And here is yet another thing: I kind of want to run a race for Grandpa. If I could have run MCM today, I can almost guarantee you that I would have started sobbing. Grandpa served in the Army in WWII, and it would have been moving to see all those Marines.
So, despite all the uncertainty about my family and my thumb and my lack of fitness and my life in general, I’ve been looking at spring races — marathons, not half-marathons.
This morning, as I shuffled through 3.4 measly miles with two stops to try getting blood flowing away from my thumb, I made a third stop to take photos of fall leaves that are finally arriving.
Then I came home, looked up a race date, and put it in my countdown app. I don’t know if I can get in shape in time, if I can justify using money from savings for it, and if my unknown schedule will allow it. But if I can, it will be for Grandpa the eternal optimist.