The Accidental Marathoner

I have two Mes.

Real me is caring and giving and kind.  Real me is never bored, because there is always someone to love or something to create or something to enjoy.  Real Me relishes weekends, family, friends and manically pursuing hobbies.  Real Me even loves horribly gray days and days when the basement floods and days when a baking dish explodes in the kitchen because there is always so much more to be grateful for.

Monster Me is angry and fearful and inadequate.  Monster Me is so depleted of energy that  the effort required to attempt to enjoy a hobby or a person or even myself is insurmountable.  Monster Me wants to cut and punch and scream.  Monster Me feels completely hopeless.  Monster Me thinks leaving the car running and shutting the garage door might not be unreasonable.

Real Me sometimes thinks Monster Me is gone for good.  But Monster Me is sneaky and always creeps back around, eventually.

When the two Mes got pregnant, Real Me decided that Monster Me was finally getting the boot.  That it was not okay for Baby Grouch to meet Monster Me.  That Baby Grouch deserved a better Mama.

Real Me started running right after Baby Grouch was born in an effort to prevent Monster Me from emerging.  Real Me set a post-baby goal of being able to run 10 miles, which had been achieved about 2 years before, though Real Me hadn’t run much since.

Exhausted, weak, tired.  Running.

Hormonal, irrational, cranky.  Running.

Back achy, pelvic achy, feet achy.  Running.

Sneezy, wheezy, coughing, congested.  Running.

Real Me carved out the time and made me go.  Even if that meant going to sleep by 8.00 to wake up for a 4.30 am run, or squeezing in a run with no time to shower before attending another function, or skipping activities with friends.  Real Me would not accept any excuses, because Monster Me needs to be continuously squelched.

After only a month, the goal was attained.  Perhaps this was because of strong(er) quads from squatting and lunging at yoga while pregnant with Baby Grouch (and the glorious weight gain that goes along with that whole process).  Perhaps this was because Real Me was pushing me as hard as was physically possible in order to keep Monster Me at bay.

A new goal of 20 miles was set, and at this point a training plan was utilized to schedule  runs in a feasible way, to attain the updated goal.  This is how Real Me ended up accidentally training for a marathon.

Every marathon runner has their reason for pushing their bodies to the limit, for sacrificing their sleep, and their time.  The level of commitment is so high that there HAS to be a deep-seated reason for someone to subject themselves to such an extreme dedication.  Completing a marathon is not about the race itself, but what the training has come to represent.  The race is simply a culmination and a celebration of that individual’s responsibility to themselves.

This is why the running community is so impacted by the Boston Marathon attack.  Even those of us who weren’t there know how much the race meant to those runners, because it’s not just a race It wasn’t just the activity of running that was abruptly stopped.  It was the activity of those runners proving something to themselves, that was so disturbingly interrupted.

The good news is, that the running community is a strong one.  One full of once-broken people who have chosen to heal, and refuse to let anyone or anything stop their healing process.  One full of people who, with every step, gain strength in character just as much as they gain strength in musculature.  One full of people who have an immediate bond with each other because of the mutual respect for each other’s promise to work on becoming better people.  The attempt to invoke fear, to alarm or to bring down this group of people was misguided – was directed at the wrong group.  We have already decided to gain strength from our weaknesses, and to not remain frozen in fear.  The Boston Marathon attack is just one more motivator for us to keep moving forward, step by step by step.

Update:  Real Me finished my first marathon with a time of 5:05.  How much did Baby Grouch weigh when she was born 7 months ago?  5 lbs 5 oz.  I love my marathon time 🙂


Photo from Life in the Day of a Runner:  Quote from Mighty Brighties:

41 thoughts on “The Accidental Marathoner

  1. You have such strong spirit, love and dedication. If only everyone could acknowledge and carefully manage their many “mes.” (I know that doesn’t look correct, but grammar me thinks it is.). Perhaps, the dueling mes are a source of the sleepless, dream- filled nights? Peace!

  2. Awesome. I love this. This is so raw and full of emotion and honest and real. I admire you. I really do. And I like Real You. I also like Monster You, but I admire Real You for pushing Monster You out of the way and heading toward your goal.

  3. This may be my favorite post you’ve ever written. It’s wonderful. I actually put the old “wait a minute” finger up at my husband when he tried to talk to me while I was reading it. I’m so impressed by you and this post and your writing and your feelings- and I actually got a really, really clear idea of why people run marathons.

    1. Thank you! For the reading, the comment, the retweet….but mostly for the “wait a minute” finger lol. For some reason I imagine it was covered in peanut butter or glue and feathers or some other food/craft supply combination.

  4. I appreciated this perspective. I am not a runner, but I know a lot of people who are, and this is so true. They are really dedicated to making themselves better through running. I have a Monster Me, too, and I am learning how important it is to have things like this to fight that monster. Great post.

  5. This piece helps me to remember that there are many reasons why a person might involve him/herself in a particular sport, hobby or career. Sometimes, it’s not about that sport, hobby or career, at all.

  6. Love this! I have a Monster Me too…and running has helped me in so many ways! One of them being the bonds I have formed with other runners, including yourself. I am so far from athletic that my Monster Me never thought I could attempt to run. I am so glad I didn’t listen to her and I’m so glad you wrote this. It is straight from the heart. You’re awesome!

    1. Yea I used to say I didn’t “have a runners body” blah blah blah. Excuses. It does take time to build up, but anyone can do it if they are healthy. And it changes you once you’re in it. So happy to see you moving forward on your jouney. Keep the updates coming.

  7. Stumbled across this & loved it! I started running for so many reasons, but I continue to run because of the sanity it gives me. My “monster me” is also kept at bay by a run. It never ever gets easier for me, but I get better at beating “it.” (It is the act of running, the commitment to run and whatever I’m struggling with that I need to run out of my mind).

      1. I found it with my ADD-dar. I followed a fb link to read a Runners World article by Dean Karnazes. I liked his article & was going to comment but saw a link on another comment to this blog…. So that’s how I stumbled! Good stuff!

  8. Reblogged this on A Morning Grouch and commented:

    Thirty-two weeks pregnant, and hardly able to walk more than a couple of miles at a stretch, it’s a little hard to believe that a year ago I ran my first marathon. My already-heightened set of emotions surrounding the race skyrocketed when the Boston marathon bombing occurred, six days before my race. As is true with most runners, ever since that day, every time I am out on a jog there is at least one moment where my mind turns to the bombing. While the thought saddens me, and makes me feel for the families affected, it also reminds me to be grateful for the legs carrying me, grateful for the people around me, and gives me strength to push on. Runners are a willful, dedicated bunch, full of strength, stamina and commitment, and the Boston bombing, instead of tarnishing this, cemented it.

  9. I love this. You make me want to be a runner. 5:05 is amazing and perfect that Baby was the same weight as your time! This really is a beautiful post.

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