Later today, I think I will compile my Facebook posts for the past week and copy them here. One day I will want to go back, I think I might forget, become comfortable and need to see what it was like to be in this place day to day.
This is a marathon, not a sprint - I was told this several times by several members of the medical team. Good analogy for me because I still clearly remember my own trail marathon journey.
On a chilly October morning I started fresh, primed, on edge for the 26.2 miles ahead of us. Nervous, scared but ready to conquer. We set off in the dark with a "fun" train ride from the parking at the end to the start. My friend had a sick stomach that day, so we were at the bathrooms quite a bit. Some people didn't even use the bathrooms - men and women, just squatted or stood in the woods a bit closer to not out of sight than to barely out of sight for decency. I could never do that - I'd probably burst first rather than squat in front of a couple of hundred onlookers.
You start on the marathon with your fresh legs, your ready mindset, your drive to succeed. Legs pound, one foot in front of the next and you build up a rhythm which propels you onward. Moment by moment you know that goal is getting closer. One mile, two miles, piece of cake, you've done a million 5Ks before. Six miles, seven, yeah, you've done 10Ks and heck, you've even done that nine-miler. You've got this. Something happens though - even though you've done your share of practice runs, the air is different, where you are is different, this is a whole new animal. There are things to be taken care of - like your friend's sick stomach means stop at every port-a-john along the way. The newer running shoes you have on are too big - you took the wrong advice and bought a pair a half size loose thanks to the running friend who gave you sock and shoe advice. The looseness of the shoes is starting to chafe. 12 miles, 15 miles. Blisters are forming. They are forming, they are popping, forming, popping, forming popping. Your feet feel like beef being run through grinder.
It's a trail marathon, no big crowds of onlookers, the bathroom stops and such have you lost from the pack and you & your buddy take a wrong turn and find yourself off the right path. A cyclist tells you a mile out you're the wrong way. You back track. Now your marathon will be longer than everyone else's marathon. Your bloody feet thank you sarcastically and you keep going. It's slow and steady, you're not made for speed. This is about completion, not the best time, not any kind of "must be this" goal that has been set. You just want to do it. It's hard - your feet really, really hurt. You're discouraged by that, you're discouraged by moving to the very end of the line of runners and being so far back you can't see anyone.
The end is approaching, the mile markers tell you so. Water stops have shut down but they've left cups of water behind for the stragglers. Dead bugs float in some of the cups, but you pick them out and drink anyway. A mile from the stop your friend decides she simply has to have this over and even though you are in pain, she knows your feet are in agony - she leaves you behind. You have stopped at every port-a-john to wait for her and still, she leaves you behind to finish that last leg alone. What the heck? You are mad, you are more than mad, you are livid - and it propels you slowly toward that line. Your family comes and sees you through the last bit. You aren't even in the mood to rejoice, you have been freaking abandoned and you are still angry. You get your medal and all you want to do is rip off those damned shoes and socks and see your pulverized feet. They are disgusting, they hurt like hell - but the rest of you is okay. You are okay. You are ready to do this again and better everything. Anything that can be bettered, you want to better because that is who you are. You want a do over. You want the right shoes, to listen to the right advice.
But nope, you're never doing it again. You have a blood test at for your doc and he finds out you test positive for lupus. LUPUS? You already have autoimmune issues and so this shouldn't shock you. But wait, the doctor thinks that perhaps it is because your body was so stressed so, so wildly put through the mill with the months of training and the bloody foot exertion. You chill, you workout but you don't do that - and the ANA is negative next time. He tells you - no more marathons for you. No more.
But he didn't know that I'd be entering a different marathon. I didn't have the same type of training for this - but I've had set backs and shockers and tragedies that came in sprints and midlength endurance runs. It was all building me toward this, I suppose. I didn't want to run this race but here I am.