I did the reading. Now Tally-ho.

Something happened over the last 10 weeks. This morning marked the last run of the massive training schedule that has dominated my early morning hours, dietary mind and shocked muscle system. (Crazy to think of the hundreds of miles that have been run in the pre-dawn dark.)

On Saturday, the amazing Gail and I will hit the road, bound for Tallahassee.  We’ll surely talk strategy, try to avoid fast food, and compare tips for trying to get some sleep…because Sunday morning is IT. The big kahuna.

I’m calling it Tally-ho, because that just sounds like so much more fun than calling it 26.2 miles of racing our butts off through Tallahassee, Florida. Though, actually, the second description doesn’t sound all that bad. The Tallahassee Marathon will either be my first or my bucket list marathon. That is yet to be decided, but this I do know…the preparation has exceeded all I had imagined.

Not long ago, a runner friend of mine said that training for and running a marathon was the hardest thing she’d ever done, and something she’d never do again. (She actually has done it again, so there must be some joy in the pain.) I can honestly say that this has not been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, though the first time I laid eyes on this training plan, I was pretty convinced it would be.

I didn't run every mile but mixed it up and stayed focused on the goal.

I didn’t run every mile but mixed it up and stayed focused on the goal.

I stopped recording my times when it became clear that I was only going to beat myself up about not being able to hit the paces that someone else had prescribed. One must run the run one runs. And rather than just doing the miles, there was a lot of cross training that aided the process. Burpees and planks and wall-sits are good for you, don’t you know?

Today, when I hopped on the treadmill (it was raining outside and I’m not about to catch a cold at this point), I intended to go easy, short – ‘taper-ish’. Eight miles later, I realized that I felt like I’d barely worked out and that the 8:07/1% incline setting was a break from the hilly sub-8’s I’ve been so regularly hitting.

I realized then that I’ve done it. I’ve trained. I’m there. I’m ready, physically and mentally.

What an amazing feeling. For years, I’ve gone out and run half marathons, 10Ks, trail races, even some 5Ks feeling like I could bring it because I run faithfully and happily. I even do speed work and cross training. This is different. It’s hugely, purely, unabashedly intentional. For a Type-A goal-setting kind of gal, this is right in my wheel house, and I can’t really believe that it’s taken me so long to find this feeling. (Heaven save me from what might come next now that I’ve found it.)

Now, all of this is not to say that the goal has been met. Oh no. I have goals for this race – some of which are very reasonable, some of which are a stretch, and some of which I haven’t even articulated to my husband (which is saying something, because he has heard a lot about this process over the last two months-plus).

Now facing the reality of that Active.com “register” button push, I can say honestly that I’ve done the work. Perhaps that will be the hard part. (I hope so.) Perhaps the race will still be hard. (I expect so.) But sometimes, facing ‘hard’ with a determination to do the work is the biggest part.

A guy asked his friend, the writer David Foster Wallace,

“Say, Dave, how’d y’get t’be so dang smart?”

His answer:

“I did the reading.”

No one said the preparation part was fun, but yes, it’s important. I wonder why we believe we can skip it and still be so dang smart.

(Thanks to Seth Godin for reminding us of that little ditty.)

Go ahead, apply the philosophy to whatever you’ve got on the horizon. It’ll work. Running – it works. Profession – it works. (I’m helping to craft and launch a new brand for my husband’s company. It proves that marathon training is not the epitome of focus and determination, it’s merely a metaphor for the really big stuff.) Relationships – it works. Fill in the blanks.

Just do the reading. Do the miles. Do the work. Then Tally-ho, my friends. Go get it.

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