Monday, October 02, 2006

Running the monkey off my back


Last year I ran the Twin Cities Marathon, my first marathon, and frankly, had a terrible race. It wasn't supposed to be a terrible race. It was supposed to be the lynch pin on which I rested my decision to sign up for Ironman Florida. I thank God for perspective, because if I had allowed that race to be the lynch pin, I wouldn't be sitting here less than a month from tracing my name in the sand with my toes. (Yea, I'm making a starting line for myself) I ran that day with the weight of the world on my shoulders. At mile 5, I ran by the road that marked me four miles from home. It took every ounce of will to move on to mile 6. I ran to mile 6 because I wanted to keep a legitimate claim on pushing The Tribe to finish what they start and to start aiming big. By mile 12 I was a crying mess, blubbering to Trihubby that I just can't do this, not on this day. I had accumulated hundreds of training miles for this race, but I just didn't have it on this day. I tuned in my mp3 and just tried to let the road absorb me, pushing back the demons that were having a field day in my mind. I hyperventilated from miles 17-19 and merely accepted my fate at The Wall. And I ran on. I sort of knew that if I had quit, I couldn't sign up for Florida, and for god only knows why, I really, really wanted Florida. I ran along Summit, and up and over the hill, and down the hill, thankful to just see the finish line. When I crossed that line, I cried. And I cried for over an hour. Every thing just came out at that moment.

Fast forward one year.

Yesterday I ran 18 miles of the Twin Cities Marathon. My training plan called for a 2:40 run, so why not in race conditions, along a beautiful course, fully supported? When my running buddy, Henry, and I made our way to the starting corral we saw a middle age couple with stuffed animal monkeys pinned to their backs. I laughed at that metaphor, as I'm sure they pulled them off at the finish line. It was a glorious day to run. Cool morning, with the sun gradually heating up the day. Half a million spectators lining the course, bluebird sky, slight breezes, just fabulous. And I ran the race I was looking for last year. No ear phones, just me, the sounds of fall, 10,000 other runners and the fans. I floated past mile 5, and laughed at the thought of turning, I can't believe I'd thougth that way last year. Mile after mile, I chatted with my neighbors, breathed in fall and just ran. I barely noticed passing mile 13, until it hit me, wow I just ran a half marathon. Only 5 miles to go. Then, as I passed mile 16, where I saw a man stop running, go to the side and smoke a cigarette, that it hit me; it is so much easier to run with the monkey off your back.

I hit mile 18 feeling great, knowing I could certainly run another 8 miles to the finish line. But this race wasn't a lynch pin, it was a training run, so I left the course with all that good vibration bottled up.

Last week I biked 120 or so miles, swam 4 or so miles, and ran the monkey off my back.

I call that a good week. Now it's off to the pool

17 comments:

TriSaraTops said...

GREAT job! I am so excited for you. I can't wait! :)

Fe-lady said...

Whooeee! Great run and sounds as if the whole thing was a piece of cake! Seriously, the guy stopped after 16 miles and decided that cigarettes are better than going ten more miles...poor guy.
YOU ARE SO READY for Nov. 5th, it is truly scary!

Comm's said...

It would have been hard for me to not finish. I admire your will power. I have my own long run coming up again, my last key workout before taper. Finally.

RunBubbaRun said...

Great job, the taper is almost here, just a little bit longer. looked like you had a lot of fun out there and that is what is all about. Even during Ironman.

Spandex King said...

Great job!! Yea, there is definently something to getting that monkey off your back.

Iron Pol said...

First, congratulations at being able to run 18 miles of a marathon and actually stop. I can only use races that are UNDER my goal for the day, because I have a hard time stopping. If I have an 18 mile run, I do 5 miles before the HALF marathon.

And doing it sans outside interference is great. Many can't believe that I race without my MP3 player. I won't train without it, but won't race with it.

And I would almost have to PUNCH someone stopping in the middle of a marathon to smoke a cigarette. Disciplined enough to run a marathon yet not enough to quit smoking???

WADDLER26.2 said...

That was an awesome week! Great job!

greyhound said...

Trimama Rocks. Your tribe is blessed to have a no quit, finish what you start, give it your all kind 'o mama. If you sense someone screaming and cheering at their computer on your special day, that would be me.

Goooooo Trimama!!

Steven said...

That wasn't a good week.

That was an AWESOME week.

Nice job and keep it rolling!

Chris said...

Sorry I missed you out there, but congrats on getting the monkey off your back!

Ironman Florida is right around the corner! It's almost taper time! You've gotta be stoked.

Michele said...

Great post and awesome run.

What a difference a year can make.

Cliff said...

who's that guy in front of u...u should have shove him over before taking the pic :)..

Good job.....

Mama B said...

Woo Hoo! Go Trimama!!

Wow, what a difference a year can make....you're awesome.

I think I really need to follow your lead and figure out how to get the monkey off my back... ;)

jbmmommy said...

That's quite a year you've had. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your training and how you smoke IMFL.

Habeela said...

It's amazing how you can come back to the same place and see how much you've changed! :)

Lana said...

Very nice! What a great run - congrats!

TriBoomer said...

Great run, TriMama. It's great to hear you're feeling good this close to IMFla. I look forward to meeting you in Panama City.

Stay tuned...