It’s been a year. No, not since I posted last (though it seems like it) It’s been one year since I ran my first marathon.
Never has it been more apropos to say, “it’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”
I was thinking the other day, eight or so miles into an 11 mile mid-week marathon training run (nuts.) that I started running about 15 years ago, simply because it was the most efficient form of exercise for me and the fastest way to tire out my dog before I went to work. Then I became a mom and it was a reliable way to get my (otherwise always) wailing baby to sleep. Then it was a way to scratch a compulsive drive that just couldn’t be satisfied as a stay at home mom. (Don’t get me wrong, that is hard and very, very satisfying but it’s not okay to compete with your kids, and I just didn’t find much tangible, positive feedback from making the best PBJ or getting that hiney extra clean post-diaper change.) Racing ended up being a very effective self esteem outlet. (Don’t judge. It’s hard to be a new stay-at-home mom.)
Fast forward to today. Running is not efficient in any way imaginable. It does exercise the dog. (She’s an Aussie-Jack Russell mix – no amount of mileage is quite enough.) It isn’t calming a wailing child, but it does soothe my soul, so that’s good for everybody in my house. I suppose it still scratches a compulsive itch to compete and achieve…we are who we are, after all. But, I’m getting feedback through a return to my career, from my now (very) verbal (and opinionated) progeny, and even sometimes from my husband, but he’s way too nice.
With all that reality in check, what is the point to all of those miles?
I think that after all of these years, I’ve stripped away the practical and mental, and just landed here. It’s just who I am and this just makes me happy.
The really crazy thing is that so much of this shift has happened since that first marathon. So many more miles (thousands), so much more time inside my head, so much new independence from my kids, so much career change, so…much. I am a different person since that first marathon just a year ago. More confident and directed, and even more purposeful with my waking hours.
Know this. When you run a marathon, you don’t run all 26 miles. You run it mile by mile. Each one is is a self-contained opportunity to do something that will impact the end result. Every hour is like every mile. Sure, you can waste it (that’s called a ‘junk’ mile – we all know what those hours look like), or you can use it.
Confession, I’m supposed to be finishing a writing project but it’s 8:30pm on a Friday, I have a glass of wine in hand and this just seemed like a more enjoyable way to spend a few minutes. So, there isn’t much point to this post, except to try to articulate what you already know. There are pivotal moments (like a marathon or a new baby or a new job) when we have a chance to look back to the last time our life shifted, and to look forward to what’s sure to come down the pike.
At these times, it’s just good to remember… it’s not the miles, it’s what you do with each and every one.
Oh, and happy birthday to the one, most wonderful, most favorite constant of my last 20+ years. Love ya, old babe. Thanks for all the miles.