I threw away half a bag of gummi bears.
They were fresh and soft, and I tossed them onto the coffee grounds and eggshells, without even indulging in “one more for the road.”
They smiled up at me, with little gummi arms outstretched, pleading, Why, Keri? Why this tragic end? We thought you loved us!
The act is now on my top ten list of “Hardest Things I’ve Ever Done.”
It was a big bag.
With all of the foods I have to avoid because of my gluten problem, I don’t like putting limitations on my diet, but the fact remains, junk food is bad for you—especially when you’re training for a marathon.
What was that?
During the initial five miles of my first marathon last year, I distinctly remember chanting, You’ll never have to do this again! You’ll never have to do this again!
So it seems strange to find myself trading jovial blobs of fruity scrumptiousness for 300 minutes of sweat a week.
I have given birth to four children (twice without drugs), and I can honestly say that completing a marathon is a lot like getting pregnant, which includes watching your body change in ways you never thought possible; climaxes in a ludicrous test of your pain threshold; and finally results in an event that astonishes bystanders.
People cheer for you, and make sure you’re hydrated, and take pictures of you when you could not possibly be more unphotogenic.
Though a race in no way compares to the miraculousness of bringing a tiny human into the world, the parallels are uncanny.
There are moments of joy and pain, fear and anticipation, endurance and reward—all at the same time. And postpartum, you think the labor is something you will never willingly endure again.
Then time goes by, and with it, the acuteness of the event grows soft and fuzzy around the edges. The entire event is bathed in warm, happy colors.
A friend tells you about a marathon she just ran, and your heart beats a little more quickly, causing a surge of excitement to well up in you.
Though you’re happy for her (since it was her first), you find yourself a little jealous; and you can’t help but think (to your own astonishment and perhaps, shame), I could do better than her.
“Yes! I could do it again!” swirls in your thoughts as you dig into that first big hill on your sunrise run.
After all, you’re a veteran now. You know the mistakes you made. You know what you would do differently. You know how you would prep for the big day.
The second time around gives you a chance to do things right.
A friend of mine described the love of mother for child as “fierce,” and it is true. God has wired women with an incredible amount of inner strength and endurance, which means a woman would fight to the death if need be, in order to defend her child.
This ferocity is inside of women, whether you have children or not.
If you dig down deep, you’ll find it there.
And if you tap into it, certain choices become a whole lot easier.
As for gummi bears…they can wait until this second labor is over.
Miles: I have run a total of 188 miles since 2011 began.
New This Time Around: Last year was pure survival, as my goal was to simply log the miles. This year I am actually doing the interval and stride workouts, and have begun the “Silver” training schedule in Claire Kowlachick’s book, The Complete Book of Running for Women.
Differences: My time, which was about a 10 minute mile (or more) average, was between 9:15 and 9:30 during my first scheduled week. Yep. I’m feeling stronger this year.
Worries: My knees, as always. I am not using the straps during short runs, because I don’t want my body to become dependent upon those things. I’d actually like to get healthy knees through strength training, muscle building, and stretching.
I am doing exercises like squats while lifting big cans of pineapple, and pushups off the counter while dinner is cooking (I hope no one peeks in the windows).
I am spending a lot more time warming up. I begin by walking for ½ to 1 mile before jogging. When I’m warmed up (depending on how cold it is), I begin my run. When I’m finished, I spend half an hour stretching. So far, it seems to be helping my knees.
Diet: avoiding candy, empty calories, sugar…staying in the Zone Diet as much as possible during training.
Weather: perfect for running, maybe a touch on the warm side lately. Heavenly Spring!
Name, Place & Due Date: Königschlösser Romantik Marathon, Füssen, Germany, July 24th.
The same marathon as last year, with a different runner.