Tuesday, September 7, 2010

High Low

I finished the half-marathon. That's 13.1 miles. Nobody is more surprised or proud than me. I went into it pretty nervous but confident that I could do it. The plan was to jog some and walk most of it. I knew it wasn't going to be fast, but worse case scenario I would walk the whole thing and still could say I did a half-marathon.

The first 5 miles were awesome. I was in high spirits, smiling, and giving high-fives to spectators. Then my right hip started to ache. When I reached mile 7, my whole right leg was throbbing. My left leg didn't start to hurt until mile 9. By mile 10 I was in some serious pain and wasn't sure if I could physically finish. At that point, it became a mental battle. I am too stubborn to do 75% of something and then just give up because my legs hurt. If I sat down, the 10 miles and messing up my legs would have been for nothing. I wanted that finisher's medal.

Somewhere around mile 12, I saw the tower at 5th Street Market, which is where the finish line was. I knew I was going to make it, and I started jogging again. I ran most of the last mile. Partly it was because I was so excited, partly it was because I wanted to be done so bad. My mom was near the finish line and cheering. That was pretty awesome. Nobody ever comes to see me do this stuff. When I turned the last corner and saw the finish line, the big clock said 3:44:14. I really wanted to get it before it turned to 3:45. I sprinted the last 500 feet or so with my eyes locked on that big clock. I made it. I found out later that my official time from the chip on my shoe was 3:42. Not bad for someone who did zero preparation.

It was obvious within minutes that I had seriously fucked up my legs. I had trouble getting to the car. I took a cold bath when I got home, did some stretching, and passed out into a long nap. When I woke up, I was unable to move anything below my belly button. That was two days ago and I'm still pretty sore, although I am looking more homo erectus today. I was feeling pretty stupid yesterday as I laid in bed with my legs propped up, trying to drain out more lactic acid. Why did I do it? I'm going to miss at least 2 days of CrossFit because of this. What was I thinking?

I was thinking, "I can't do a half-marathon. Real athletes do that. I'll embarrass myself." Lately, that's all it takes to get me to try something. And I keep discovering that I can do things. I might not be the fastest or the strongest, but I can do hard things. I'll finish eventually. I don't need to be afraid of anything. I wrote on Facebook, "I did it! I did it! I'm in horrible pain, but I finished! I did it. And I never have to do it again."

That night, as I was nursing my legs and still high off the whole day, my ex-husband called. He's going to marry the woman he cheated on me with. He wanted me to hear it from him before he put the kids on. Then he did. They were all excited because they're going to get "a new mom!" Holy shit.

I got off the phone and started sobbing. Not because I'm jealous of them. They're both miserable people who totally deserve each other. I'm just so jealous of what they have. I'm the one who wants marriage and a family. I want someone to talk about my day with and to celebrate great days with. I want someone to take care of me when I'm sick and I want to take care of him when he's sick. I want to go on family trips with the kids to interesting places. I'm a good person and I'm working hard to be even better. Why doesn't anyone want to be with me? Blah blah blah. There's no need to keep going on; you get my point.

Anyway, things are in better perspective today. I think it was poetic that the half-marathon and the wedding news came on the same day. The half-marathon reinforced my growing realization that I can do anything I choose to do. I don't need to be afraid of getting hurt, or looking foolish, or even failure. All of those things or none of those things might happen, but I'll be fine. Same with being a single mom. I'll be fine. It's hurting right now, but I keep getting stronger. Someday this whole process will be over, and I will be able to say, "I did it. And I never have to do it again."