I feel like I'm well on my way back to making this thing work. I didn't know a big push like for the half marathon would take so much out of me, take so long to recover from. Each time I made an attempt to truck through it, I felt so awkward, cement shoes, as it were. There was no peace in the pacing, no rhythm of progress to find solace in. I imagine it felt the way people must react when listening to me sing: a hunt for a joy that will not be made available. The effort is there, the love of the attempt, but ultimately, the result is a hampered little train wreck of a thing, every tenth stride perhaps accurate by chance.
Saturday kicked the ass of these feelings and I was lucky enough to bid a fine welcome back to a relaxed run that made sense. The pacing was slow and easy, twelve minute miles to the second. Five miles worth. A jog through town to the bay, weaving through clots of Giants fans, all of us holding on to a snapshot of imagined victory. By the time I turned the corner to greet the Bay Bridge, the run's goal was assured. I only had one mile to go, roughly, and my pace was on point. That last mile was the antithesis of mile 13 of the race. For everything I feared, I regained acceptance. For everything I labored over, I glided through, and for everything I erected a wall about, I hacked those bricks apart. Saturday brought me the feeling of that moment where I really believed that no matter what happens on July 25th, it'll be okay. Maybe I won't be able to finish, and maybe I will, but the whole reason I started this thing was to try and do a thing I didn't believe I could do. To try it. And in this process, I have had long stretches of believing I can. It's a crazy feeling to believe in oneself. And when that feeling goes, the loss is crushing, but to have it return is so much bigger than the loss ever was.
And so I am working my way back to that moment I suppose. Or maybe I'm not. Hell, what do I know? But I am back in the saddle of meeting the challenge to learn to believe I can make the effort. I think part of that thing is showing up to be willing to fail on a fantastic scale. Nice people have told me all along that I have already succeeded, and some days that feels true. Other days I am still silently berating the clock that flashed 2:51:58 on April 11th. Some days when I tell people I ran a half marathon, my entire body feels like it is telling a lie. Because the feat is so singular, I have no practice believing I could do such a thing next to the years of practice I have of keeping time on a couch. But I did. I ran 13.1 miles.
On an incredibly difficult route.
In a monsoon.
With my period.
And when I finished, I could see no way at all to how I would make it for twice that distance.
And that's the whole thing about this undertaking. I could never see a way to how I would make that distance. The mind is a hilarious little playground. Always tricking me with its stubborn ego into believe I know anything at all. There is a distinct difference between having faith, and believing I know what will happen. Faith seems more like believing whatever happens, which I have no idea about or control over for the most part, is what is supposed to happen. The experience of thinking I can tell the future about anything, is a bit of giving over the magic of life to the routine. If I can remain in the place where I know I'm not in charge of everything, where I am not the best, where I am not the captain of the ship, maybe I have a chance to really take in the view.
So, while my runs have made their way back to a kind of comfort, I harbor major doubts about whether I can make it through a full marathon. At my pace, it will take me about 6 hours. That would give me time to watch one of my favorite movies, The Usual Suspects, three times in a row, with plenty of space to get up and make snacks. But for today, I feel happy to make the attempt.
Dear Keyser Söze,