I have a bad attitude. Not my kids, not my husband, not my dog (although my giant cat is definitely not making this list). It’s me.
I’ve been walking around with it all week long, and even most of last week. And it’s because this paper is trying to kill me!
We (two friends and me) are in week 11 of 16 of the most challenging form of torture I can find for myself: the marathon training plan.
This paper rules my life. It tells me when I have to run, how far, and how fast. But more importantly, it tells me how much I have to rearrange my schedule each day, which nights I can’t go out or have a drink, which days I should steer clear of jalapenos and beans, which days I need to wake up early, which days I’ll be switching off watching kids with a friend, which weeks I can reasonably expect to make it to church, and how many nights Scott will be putting all the kids to bed on his own. It’s ruling my life.
I’m going to reiterate that we are in week 11 of 16, mostly for my own benefit, because that tells me two important things. First, I’m two-thirds done. And second, this is the part that hurts the most. We’re in the beginning of the peak stage, which comes with the most mileage and speed challenges. I’m tired. So very tired. This many miles every week can do that to a girl. (Although I have other friends who make this training plan look like a beginner’s guide to pre-school activities and show up at work every morning, chipper as shit.)
Running comes with some ugly stuff. There’s the part of your chest that gets rubbed raw from your sports bra friction after more than three hours of constant movement. There’s the chafing in all the places. (And I do mean, ALL the places.) There are toenails that come off, and there are blisters. I’ve had my fair share of running blisters before, but I’ve never encountered anything like this. It started with some oddly-placed blisters that popped up on the sides of my toes on a long run. I dealt with those blisters, which turned to callouses, which got so big they created new blisters on the sides of new toes. I developed a new post-run ritual of cut, drain, soak, and bandage. Then I’d run the next day, and they’d all fill up again, usually with new ones on top of the old ones. New tape on new toes created new blisters on the next toes. Cut, drain, tape, repeat. Cut, drain, tape, repeat.
It’s so very sexy. And it hurts. A lot. Which makes my runs suck. A lot. Then last Saturday, due to the challenges that come with trying to align the schedules of three busy moms for three hours on a weekend, we ran 18 miles up and down the unforgiving pavement of the Riverwalk in 90 degree heat. It nearly killed us all, physically, and mentally. That run and the shredded feet I had to show for it was the defeating nail in the coffin I needed to secure my bad attitude. Even a rest day Sunday couldn’t cure me of the PTSD from Saturday. Nor was it enough time to heal my feet.
In the meantime, my most reliable running partner is having a two week peak, where every run is the run of her life, exceeding all expectations, and she’s just feeling so good. I hate her. Meanwhile, I’m licking my wounds and counting down the days to when I can throw this packet of paper in the fireplace and watch it burn. Burn like the bourbon I’ll be able to drink any night of the week.
If you’ve made it this far into my whining, you may be asking yourself, “Why in the hell are you doing this?” Many of you have asked me that very question to my face. Honestly, I can’t give you a good answer. It’s obviously not because I’m going to win anything. I don’t have a gift for it, or even a deep love for it. I won’t gain any notoriety, or start handing out business cards with my new PR time on it (if I even achieve it). I won’t earn any money for it. My kids certainly won’t love me any more for it.
I honestly can’t tell you why, except that I just have to. I have to do this, so I know that I can do this, and I have to run every run on this f%*#ing paper, because that’s how I have to do it, battle wounds and all.
In the meantime, I’m seeking newer new shoes, becoming a regular in the first aid section of HEB, buying every kind of sport or first aid tape known to man, and limping around in flip flops like a sad-ass loser most of the day. And I’m sporting that bad attitude like a boss. I’ll get out of it eventually and be a little less self-loathing and pitiful, and hopefully be a little bit stronger for it. After all, this is my ticket to eating all the tacos and butter I want.