From Ridiculoussunglasses to Running Doctor, in response to Part 1: Marathon Self Doubt
I had a point before. I had several, actually. I had the point that I was reinventing myself and that this was going to solve all of my longstanding internal problems. I had the point that I was going to do something I thought was impossible, and that would mean I could do ANYTHING I think is impossible, including being okay with myself. I was going to write about it and document it and have this story journal that showed my transformation, too (which is part of why I got this computer… to write). I had a point before.
I completely failed to accomplish that point. I DID do something that I thought was impossible for me, and also watched everything else remain just as impossible as ever. The main thing I ‘reinvented’ was some bone tissue in my right tibia after I broke it. And more than half of what I write for my blog ends up being unreadable whining. Sure, I learned a lot and am healthier, which was also part of the point, but let’s be real here… those are the equivalent of the finisher’s medal… “Thanks for showing up!… Great Try!” The point was to get a spot on the podium (reinvention), hardware (being okay with myself) and a prize check (journal documenting triumph). LOLFail. Fail SO SO hard. Fail again.
Having my parents there for the Pig last year was kinda cool. It did feel good to have them out there, and it gave me a boost on the course, for sure. It felt sort of pointless at the end, though. They had no real concept of what it was like for me. I actually would have preferred them not to be there [at the end]. It was also pointless and felt stupid to have them at my triathlon other than the fact that I needed someone to drive me home. And really, any of the pride I took in having them there or the good feelings I had about it all was more because I thought it was this process of change and reinvention and blah blah blah blah blah (see every post ever…)
I keep telling people it’s because it’ll be a good base for the rest of the year, and that I want to get a marathon under my belt for doing a full ironman someday. These aren’t false statements. But I also know when I’m bullshitting someone, and I feel like I’m bullshitting whenever I am saying that. It’s not that I don’t want to do other races, or a full IM some day. I do. But take a step back… the question is “Why?”
What am I trying to prove? What am I getting out of racing? And especially out of such a brutally long distance? I already know could condition myself enough to get to the finish. I’d just become a training robot for a while, and I have shut myself into robot mode enough times in my life that it isn’t hard for me. If I decided that’s what I’m doing, the ‘accomplishment’ wouldn’t be that crazy in my mind. So why do it? I already proved that what I WANT to get from racing isn’t possible. I already proved that my body isn’t really suited for this kind of workload or pounding. I lost the romance of “doing the impossible” after I realized that anyone who does a decent amount of training can do a half distance tri, and a full is just more of the same. It’s like a PhD, or a master trade certification, or digging a really big hole. You don’t have to actually be good at anything or smart or special in any way. You just have to put in the time. And pretty much anyone who puts in the time will eventually get there. Now, this isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of brilliant doctors, master technicians, mining engineers, and amateur triathletes too. There are obviously people who excel more than others in these time-intensive fields. But I’m not going to excel more than others at a marathon, or a triathlon… I’m just the guy who put in the time. The one at the back of the class that annoys the piss out of you because he gets the same degree (finisher medal?) even though he’s not actually good at it.
And anyway… why marathon? A marathon isn’t cooler or more badass to me than a half ironman. And I think triathlons are more fun. I could potentially be kind of good at triathlons… Maybe…. Someday…. If I somehow accomplish those first two original points. LOLJK… that’ll never happen.
So, I don’t know what I’m doing. But I think NOT doing it might be worse. I’m more scared of having to tangle with whatever beast would take the place of the marathon than I am of tangling with the beasts: training, potential injury, and potential failure. Also, it’s just what seems to be the thing for me to do right now. Like there’s an inexplicable force pulling me into doing this marathon… Some sort of cosmic pull… I dunno… Maybe I just have a weird thing that I need to follow through even though I’m usually high as shit when I sign up for races. I don’t know. But whatever dumbass psycho-spiritual bullshit is going on in my head, I’m doing it.
And I know if I’m going to run a marathon, I’m going to need help. I can’t do it alone. And…
And I know part of that is going to be that I’m going to need to be there for you, and for the rest of our running family. I know I depend on you guys, especially you [Running Doctor], so I also know you all depend on me, which gives me some strength, in a weird way. So I know if I’m doing it, I’m going to be helping you (plus, if I don’t have that to focus on, I’ll think about myself too much and implode. It could be a literal implosion too… it could get very messy).
I don’t have any answers for you about marathons. But you already knew that.
I don’t really have any answers about most aspects of my life (which you also knew). But… Like the marathon, it’s all still real, and still happening, and that’s that.