Tuesday, June 14, 2005

on my way...

Last night I called my grandmother to say goodbye before my trip, and also to check in, since she hasn’t been feeling well lately.

During our brief chat, my grandmother, according to whom I can do no wrong, revealed that, actually, I’ve disappointed her lately.

“I’m proud of 99.9% of everything you do,” she told me. “But this. You’re driving me crazy.”

What could I have done to elicit such disapproval from this woman who spoils me rotten?

Have I treated my family with disrespect? Have I thrown away my career to join the circus? Am I, god forbid, abusing drugs?

Nope. It’s this fakakta* running scheme. She doesn’t understand it, she doesn’t like it, and every time I’ve spoken to her in the last several months, her first question has been, “are you done with the running yet?”

My uncle, who reported on the war in Iraq from Kuwait and recently visited Baghdad, told me, “don’t be a hero.”

My mother bemusedly told me to “have fun.”

My older brother asked me if I was sure I was related to him.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining. My family loves me, is proud of me, and, if I feel it is necessary to run a marathon in Alaska, well then, they’ll cheer me on. Even my grandmother, in her way, has supported me in this, and she gave a big donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

But, that doesn’t mean they get it.

All of which makes me very glad that I found so many running blogs, have so many runners who read and comment on this site, and have friends who will run and race with me. It’s nice to know that some people enjoy the same kind of meshugas** I do.

Thank you, everyone, for your well wishes and encouragement, throughout this process, but also in the past couple of days. I have now finally passed through the crazy and have emerged into the calm.

It helped that LadyFab was so excited and confident at our last training run on Saturday. It also helps that I’m finally packed, with all the final details of my itinerary arranged, and have left plenty of time for freaking out and last minute preparations on Friday (which I don’t anticipate needing, but I’m glad I have the option).

But the biggest factor keeping me sane is my newfound resolve for the race. Originally, my goal was simply to finish. And, back in February, when I couldn’t run three miles without stopping to walk, that was a huge goal. But, as I progressed in my training, I became confident that I would absolutely get my butt across those 26.2 miles (Kain ein horeh***), and I began to want a new goal. I started thinking in terms of time goals, and, while I still have those in the back of my mind, it seemed to be overly ambitious for a first marathon, and likely to lead to disappointment.

But over the past week, I’ve been thinking about what it would really take to make me feel successful after running this race. I know some people want to feel strong the whole way, enjoy the crowds, and take in the whole experience. That seems to make a lot of sense, but I know for myself, I’m too competitive to let that be my goal.

After training for so long, I want to know on Saturday, however long it takes, that I’ve given it everything I could. If that means I hit a wall somewhere and end up blowing my time, that’s what happens. But I want to put everything out there.

That is not to say that I will throw away my training and start sprinting when the gun goes off. I still plan to pace myself and walk through water breaks and do my best to make the race go as well as my 20-mile run. But shit happens. And that’s okay.

Anyway, that’s my mental state. I’m excited for my trip, and I’m REALLY excited for the race.

On that note, I leave you with this:

elevation copy

Catch you on the flip side!

* Yiddish: Fucked up; crazy
** more Yiddish: craziness
*** still Yiddish: No evil eye! (Sorry, talking to and about my grandmother brings out the Yiddish in me.)

P.S. Go wish Somebody luck. She's running in Anchorage too, and, as a Canadian, is flummoxed by our fakakta (see how I brought that right back around?) measuring system.


Anonymous Dolores said...

Habibti! I'm so excited for you, and I wish I could be among the crowds to cheer you on. I think you're gonna do great and I'll be with you in spirit (only not with the running part...*shudder*). I think that what you've done is an amazing achievement, and for what it's worth to have a non-runner a month older than you say this, I'm so proud of you.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous katherine said...

Good luck, Naomi! Not that you need it of course. I think your new goal is definitely the best one to have.

I like how the course gets easier at the end and is pretty much all downhill...until that random uphill sprint during the last mile. What is up with that?

1:39 PM  
Anonymous katherine said...

oops, this is really my "webpage" (I hit enter by accident)

1:39 PM  
Anonymous BD said...

It's funny to think that running 26.2 miles isn't challenging enough. You are one driven person!

Save something for that 80+ foot climb at mile 25.75. By the way, are the race planners insane or just sadistic?

Have a great race! Yes, see on you on the other side. I can't wait to hear about your success!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Noames said...

Dolores! Welcome out of lurkdom. Thanks for encouragement. I wish you could be there too, but I'll think of your "there's beer at the end."

Katherine and BD--Thanks! That last hill is called "insult hill" and I have to say, I think they could have figured out a way for the race not to end that way. Oh well, that's life...

And BD, I'm either driven or crazy and somewhat immature. I think, sadly, it's the second one.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous jessie said...

De-lurking to wish you well for your first marathon! You're going in strong...Best of luck.

No, the family never quite understands the insanity, I mean dedication, that it takes to be an endurance athlete. Sometimes random aunts will whisper to each-other "you know, she's doing all that running" under their breath when I walk by at family functions. Come on people, it's not crack.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Go, go, go! Have a great time and run strong :-)

8:45 AM  
Blogger ncmunchkin said...

Good luck! I can't wait to hear about the victory that you're about to have.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Sarah v. said...

I guess it's time for me to de-lurk as well. Congrats on all your hard work. You'll be great, and don't forget to have fun. You better keep up the blog -- I'm addicted!

2:57 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

You're going to do awesome! My advice is just to concentrate on finishing and having fun.

5:30 PM  

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