Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm so excited and I can't hide it (anymore)

Greetings from the world of 90-mile weeks and full time graduate work! When I was a kid I always hoped I would not lead a boring life; all I can say is that my life is certainly not boring-- but hectic, vibrant and surreal. Running morning noon and night, I have some dramatic leaps and bounds this week in addition to realizing my human limitations.

So. To start off: I don't know what marathon I'll be using as a Trial's Qualifier yet. I had thought I was going to run in Eugene, Oregon (which I had heard from friends was fast enough) and that also happened to be the perfect time (May 1.) However, my coach (my wonderful, new coach who even posted this question on an online message board and contacted race directors for me) cautioned that he hadn't heard much about it. He suggested, instead, Grandma's marathon weeks later on June 18th. The problem: it's in Minnesota... and as a graduate student whose major skill (aside from running long distances at an impressive clip) is writing, funding is an issue to say the least. Everything is up in the air and nothing is for certain; also, my writing life seems to be taking form (I've been doing a couple of freelance things in addition to being hired on as a freelance contributor to a local news weekly).  The five week difference between the two races, however, could make or break this season of my running life.

For one, this is the 100th running of the Bay to Breaker's race in San Fran. 100 years ago, a student from Saint Mary's College won the race. Granted: there is no way in heaven or hell I could ever WIN; but I could place well and being a graduate student of Saint Mary's College, how lovely would that BE to participate in that race? (I will not, despite the novelty and bragging rights I may entail, run naked or in any sort of ridiculous getup.) But to be there, to see the crowds who have less inhibitions than I do; it's a world I only dreamed of long, long ago back when I thought I wasn't much of a runner at all.

The world is opening to me like a flower; blooming, in other words, one opportunity at a time. I'm not an elite yet; I'm not quite fast enough. But each week, I notice subtle changes in my mind and body. It is as though my body is remembering what it was born to do; I remember how to breathe and stride in motion; my mind is becoming a haven of words and phrases-- not always good-- but that are noticeably better than ones I came to this graduate writing program with.  AND my blog's been noticed (take note of the little blue badge in the upper righthand corner). Now features my blog as a place where readers can find accurate (and I hope entertaining!) information about all things running.  I am like that character in Flashdance who moves to the music in that final scene, defying yet redefining the parameters of her passion. I am writing about running; running to write.  I never thought this would actually be my life. I only dreamed it.

But you know; dreams are powerful things-- the types of dreams that are ambitions, I mean.  My advice for any reader who wants to run (a certain distance, a particular race, who wants to be an Olympian): go for it. Live the life as much as you can. Believe in yourself; it might be crazy (my life is!) but the regret of not trying is worse than the pain of pushing yourself there.

1 comment:

Jen Jones said...

I've run both Eugene and Grandma's.

My opinion.

IF the weather is good in Duluth (which it should be), they've had some bad luck in the past, Grandma's is the faster of the two.

Eugene was awesome, but with a few limitations. Last year there was only 2 elite fuel stations and the course (in my opinion) could flow better. Grandma's is a straight shot, only a couple of turns that last mile in town and just one hill at mile 17 that isn't too bad.

Have you contacted Grandma's about hotel/travel assistance? I'm sure they would be thrilled to add you to their race. Their elite coordinator is extremely nice! I'm betting they will have a nice size group going for the B standard this year!

I'll be doing the full or half up there this year depending on how Boston plays out!