The week before a marathon the miles die down and you are left with time to contemplate the training you’ve done, and the race ahead. Why anyone would run a marathon is still beyond the grasp of reason. But, what can be said is that training for, and racing, at any distance, requires a ton of sacrifice.
One must surrender, first, the notion that you are who you were brought up to be, and that you cannot change. This notion becomes impossible to hold onto as you run your first mile, then two, then ten. Once things that once seemed undreamable become easy, you can no longer hold the notion of a stuck and static and immovable you.
You must sacrifice, as well, being sad about your life, because your lungs are becoming stronger and your heart and your muscles and your mind. The droopy face in the mirror tightens up, and dare I say, you might often see a smile. It’s a wonder really, that doing these simple things we humans were no doubt designed to do, prevents the pointless doldrums of electronics from sappy our enjoyment of existence.
You must be willing, also, to part with unhealthy eating, for it makes the miles harder, and no one loves hard miles. You must give up negative self-talk, the voice of your sleepless parents, your insecure classmates, your confused first lover, and your crossed former best-friend. You must surrender the snarled face of every bully who made you breathless, as you need your breath daily; deep, slow, even breathing.
You must give up being stuck between fourteen and eighteen, staying up after midnight to prove a point, seeing how much you can drink and still make it through the day, being always angry. Longer distances will suck these energies out of you, and leave them splattered beneath rubber soles on concrete.
You must give up the drama of being put-upon, of feeling that this whole world is out to get you. Because most of this world can no longer catch you. They are sitting at home imbibing TV. The sun is up and they are still sleeping. They are out late at expensive restaurants bitching about how unfair this all is, and overeating. And you are watching yourself change.
It’s not easy, to give up these dramas and admit that you know nothing. To admit that your body and your being and your capability are unknown, especially to you. That you have no idea what you could train for, what you could grow into, what you could learn to love to do.
Honestly, if you’re not willing to sacrifice these things, not your time, nor pain, nor your “…always had bad knees”. If you are unwilling to sacrifice the current image of yourself, then you might be better served being one of the people who says, “I would love to be able to…” Someone who sits stuck in their square box and laments how easy, how hard, how uneven, how unfair, how disproportionate this world can be.
I warn you. One step outside that box and you risk your very security, your safety. You are being watched, and stalked, and followed right now, by someone close by, someone awake and alive, by the person you could soon be.