Tuesday, June 21, 2005

More reflections on the marathon

Okay, I probably shouldn’t be allowed near a keyboard late at night. I get maudlin and wordy. And after I posted last night, I realized there was more to say.

My last post accurately depicts how I felt during the race, and in the days afterwards. But as time passes, and especially as I start to recover from the complete exhaustion, I’m starting to get a little perspective (yes, Susan, you are absolutely right about that).

As I tell this story, I’m starting to recognize two things. Firstly, nobody can change what happened, and secondly, nobody can force me to focus on the success if all I insist on seeing is the failure. Especially if I insist on telling the story as if the failure is the most important part.

I think I had some vision of a great narrative arc: Girl hates running, girl takes on extreme challenge to run marathon, girl astounds critics and supporters alike by running a record breaking marathon.

And maybe that would be the story if my life were a movie, but I’m not Rocky, and that’s not my story, and not just because I didn’t get that mythical perfect marathon.

I think it’s more like:

Girl hates running, girl takes on extreme challenge to run marathon, girl learns new respect for her body and what it can accomplish, girl uses that knowledge to continue to challenge herself and reach new heights.

And that’s what running has done for me. As a sport, I love how it’s completely individual—a question of setting and achieving your own goals—but also something that a lot of people share. (I suppose it’s different for elite runners, but most of us aren’t elite runners.) When things were tough at the end of the marathon, we all supported each other, even complete strangers. One detail that I forgot to mention was that, when I was walking, even the people who passed me by offered encouragement.

And, as I said in my last post, despite what I may have thought when I started this process, this won’t be my last race. And, I guess, it won’t be my last marathon.

Now I have a PR to beat.


Blogger Jessica said...

I, for one, am incredibly impressed with you, Noames. From my perspective your marathon does not seem like *any* kind of failure at all. You ran 26.2 miles, all at once!!! You raised a big chunk of money for a very good cause! You changed your life! And now you are going back for more, and that is amazing. Not only amazing. Inspirational.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

You forgot about the part where "girl impresses the heck out of people she's never met who read her training and marathon accounts with avid interest and much awe" - you totally rock, grrrl!

3:42 PM  
Blogger jeanne said...

I have lurked and read every entry you've written. We share a few things in common: live in D.C., another non-runner training for my first marathon, aspiring writer.

You are an amazing writer! Has anyone said that? Marathon aside, you made me laugh out loud many times (i'm hoping that was your intention).

I'm thrilled with your account of the actual day. I can only imagine the thousand emotions you felt, and are still feeling.

Just know you have an avid fan club out there, and you are an inspiration.

you go grrl.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

I just have to point out that in the original Rocky, he doesn't actually win. His triumph is that he is the first person to go the distance with the champ. And trust me, when you watch Rocky, you really feel that he won.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous BD said...

Your marathon was one of the most inspiring accounts I have read. It was most certainly a triumphant moment when you finished. I hope you know that.

12:21 PM  

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