Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pre-Race Jitters

 I'm laying in my bed after a long, emotional day with a coffee leaning precariously against the pillow and several mountains random stuff surrounding me. Honey Stingers, Clif Bars, Bloks, a headlamp, a red LED clip-on light, a 6-pack of socks, my gym bag with a damp yoga towel in it, and piles papers everywhere. The papers are mostly drafts of to-do lists, their successors, packing lists, business cards, and receipts.

My ability to organize appears in my life like an unexpected storm. Kind of like El Nino. There are years of devastating drought, and then all of a sudden there's a torrential downpour. But California is the desert after all, and it only a takes a few days for people to forget that it ever rained at all, and put their umbrellas back into storage. Similarly, I have bouts of intense organization, where I get down to color-coating, alphabetizing, measuring, cleaning things with a toothbrush (and enjoying it), and then spend the next few days completely chipping away at all of my hard work piece by piece. Hence, the mountains of stuff all over my room.

It gets worse when I have a lot on my mind. You can tell when I'm really stressing about something, or extremely involved in a project, because it looks like the apocalypse visited me personally. 

That being said, my mental plate is at capacity. The day after tomorrow, I'm leaving on a road trip. Every great story begins with a stranger coming to town or someone leaving on a journey, so I thought I would give you a preview of upcoming events.

On Saturday, I'm running a one hundred mile race on a course that goes from West Yellowstone to Driggs, Idaho. Every fiber of my being, every hair on my head and the 8 toenails that are remaining on my blistered feet are all screaming for me not to go. Locking my door, climbing under the covers, turning off my phone, and playing dead is a very appealing alternative to actually racing at the moment.

First of all, I don't even know if I have any business running a 100 mile race. Sure, I've been training hard. I've been running hundreds of miles every month, going to yoga every day, swimming, and doing more push-ups and sit-ups than I'd care to admit. But the thing is, I have absolutely no idea how my body will react to anything after about 60 miles. I heard a few months back that women weren't allowed to race in marathons until relatively recent history, because medical professionals believed that their uterus would fall out from the physical exertion. When I heard that, I immediately thought that the men who said that were jerks to underestimate women so egregiously. But while I write this, I've decided that it was probably a woman who concocted this little piece of fiction, because however irrational it may be, I am imagining the exodus of my uterus at about mile 80. (Sorry, Mom. I know it's vulgar.)

I digress.

I try to usually keep my blog uplifting and positive, but I think this one specifically calls for brutal honesty, so I apologize if you were letting your 14 year old son read over your shoulder and were embarrassed to witness him reading the word "uterus" on my blog.

The thing is, I know that I have to go into this race with a positive attitude and an inner strength that I'm not sure that I possess. But blisters and rotting toes be damned, I'm running it. Regardless of how difficult it is, I'm going to give it my best shot.

I'm not what you would call religious, but I'm going to ask for help from whatever God that is out there, even if it means looking for him/it/her in the changing leaves and the gravel under my feet, and the buffalo on the hillsides, and the wide open sky. Even if it means singing, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine," as I run down the black highway in the middle of the night with nothing but my little LED headlamp to guide me. 

And...theres the problem with my shoes. Unfortunately, this is a significant issue that leaves me feeling rather helpless and in the hands of fate. The problem? I don't have any. I know. It sounds crazy. I've been having a crisis with shoes for the last 6 months since I've started wearing "real shoes" instead of vibrams (five-finger shoes). The real shoes actually do help a little with the cushioning...I don't feel like the balls of my feet are on fire after a long run, but they have brought with their neon colors and their sexy designs a whole host of other problems. Blisters, black toenails, stubbed toes, ankle pain, knee pops.

You probably already know what every first-time marathon runner knows. Never change anything about what you wear or what you eat the day of the race. You will regret it. 

Now, I sincerely agree with that little pearl of wisdom and it is advice that I have passed along to others. However, practicing what I preach is another deficiency of mine. I can only do it so much, and then the chaos of life makes it impossible. I ordered the shoes my coach said I should get, I ran in them, and my toenails turned black and then fell off. I returned the shoes, continued running in my Nike Frees in the interim, and got the most epic blisters I have ever seen. My blisters have blisters. So now, I am waiting for my new shoes to show up in the mail, at the last minute, so I can take them for a run and make sure they don't completely wreck my feet.

Sorry. I digress. Again.

I'm talking about material things so much is because right now, according to my to-do list, I'm supposed to be packing. Instead I'm procrastinating.

I better stop. 

Until next time. 

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