What to Expect when you are expecting a marathon.

ChAoS in MOtiOn
What to expect when you are expecting a marathon.

            Recently I had plenty of time to think during my long run.  Four hours and 34 minutes, to be exact.  This run was the pinnacle of this entire training debacle, and the mileage needed was 20.  The process will be a taper from this point.  As I began the run, I began to realize that this journey paralleled another I have been blessed to have in my life: pregnancy and birth.
            It starts very similarly: “Honey, I think I should run a marathon.” It is reminiscent to “Honey, I think we should start a family. Everyone is doing it, and everyone is talking about what an awesome experience is, that I won’t regret it.”  The response is almost identical, a drawn out “Uh…” combined with a deer in the headlights look.   “No, Honey, I realize it will never be a good time for this, but maybe now is the least worst time. But I can’t do this alone. We both have to be willing to give to make this work.  I can’t do this by myself.”  In the end, his response was similar, “I love you, and I want to give this to you.”
            My excitement is overwhelming! I blast my marathon registration all over Facebook like an alien ultrasound picture. “Look what is happening in October!” Everyone responds joyously and congratulates me! “So happy for you!!” “Hooray!”  “How exciting!” I wallow in the glow of this pending journey.  I start envisioning the finish and how I’m sure there will be butterflies, rainbows and unicorns…and joy!
I have so much to do to prepare!  Week by week I need to know what is going on, and what to expect.  I need to revaluate my clothing, and my gear. There is the playlist to be made for that day. Whose vocals do I want to carry me through this experience?  This is uncharted territory, so I’m reading and gleaning all the advice from those who have gone before me.  It all starts slowly, and there are some aches and pains and nausea.  And then I hear the horror stories of the broken hips, the puking, and the stress fractures.  I learn Pheidippides, the Greek dude who ran the original 26.2 miles DIED!! I consider backing out, but that is ridiculous. The wheel is in motion and I must forge onward.
            “Honey!!! I’m gaining weight!!!” I blubber to my husband. “No one told me about the weight gain!!”  I realize those thighs of mine, the ones that have been “thick” since I was 5 years old are not going to get any smaller. My arms become bigger, more defined, but bigger, and we all know that muscle is heavy.  And I am hungry.  I’m really hungry.  And then there is the irritation… “Why is he eating all the ice cream? He isn’t going through what I’m going through?”
            Oh, and the joy of exhaustion sets in.  Why does no one warn me about the exhaustion?  And the stiffness, and the inability to get off the floor from a sitting position because it hurts.  I learn to elevate limbs and use compression socks and take warm baths to soothe my aching body that is performing great demands.
            Eventually I start to see the positive in the changes my body is going through.  The process is working.  I am seeing results.  I begin to get excited.  “This is really going to happen!! I’m going to do this!”  That crucial week arrives. The one that marks the point when, even though things may not roll out as exactly as planned, everything should work out.  The end is within sight.
            Game day will arrive. Bags will be packed, clothing laid out, sustenance gathered and the plan established with all participating.  Who will be where, and what words I will need cheered to me are clarified.  It’s the day we’ve been waiting for to arrive.  I think it is safe to say at some point, probably around mile 23, I will see my Honey and scream “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!! YOU AGREED TO THIS!!!!” 
And here is where the journey diverges.  In the end, no one can knock me out and finish the marathon for me.  In the end, it will be entirely up to me.  It will be entirely my will to push through the pain and the doubt and silence the little voice that is telling me, “You can’t do this.”   However, that doesn’t mean I won’t possibly be wishing for someone to just knock me out…