I signed up for a full marathon last August, just because I wanted to feel that euphoria of crossing the finish line.
As a writer for a sports show, I've written about it too many times in my life. But I never knew the actual feeling of 42.195 kilometers. The closest I got to a full mary was 33 kilometers of trail, when my evil diarrhea successfully 'DNFed' my 50-kilometer trail race.
After bouts of asthma and laziness, I finally got crazy and signed up for TBR Dream Marathon. Suddenly, I had something to look forward to.
I wasn't the hardcore runner type but I surely enjoyed my runs every week. I felt excited again, more than any kind of exhilaration associated with most of my first dates :-P I had a reason to lace up my shoes again. Instead of party outfits, I found myself shopping for running gear and accessories. Soon, I also exchanged my love for beer with lemon and cucumber juice, just because it was easier to run without my beer belly... and hangovers. Lakwatsa nights only occurred once in a blue moon. I sometimes wore my running outfit underneath my office wear so I could run straight from work.
I have already imagined myself crossing the finish line, in slowmo, like a seasoned athlete with her hands dramatically pointing up the sky. And almost thrice a week, this beautiful imagery fueled me to get up and be a better version of myself. My morning runs became my reason for waking up a little bit earlier. My evening runs became my avenue to ward off my stress and to think of happy thoughts. My treadmill runs became enjoyable again. At last, I rekindled my love for running.
But love and running can get really unpredictable. Sometimes the rain suddenly pours when you're about to run outside. Sometimes when you're finally feeling the momentum, you remember that you have forgotten your earphones, or worse, your hydration belt. Sometimes you fail to hear the early morning alarm clock. Sometimes you need to make a U-turn when you hear the growl of an aggressive dog that has marked its territory. And sometimes, shit happens like experiencing pain on your calf :-(
I thought it was just ordinary soreness after a long run and an intense kickboxing class, so I ignored it. I tried to go on with my training, but after a month, the pain did not go away. Finally, I accepted what I dreaded to hear: I have shin splint and I cannot fulfill my full mary dream.
Failing to achieve a dream that I have been preparing for was even more depressing than my heartaches. I could not even get the chance to try, thanks to my diva shin. But rather than whining about my frustration, I decided to look at the bright side. Sorry for the cliché, but running has made me stronger, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. It carried me during my dark days when I felt like crying. It calmed me during moments when I just needed to hear my breath and deep thoughts. It drifted me to soundtracks of my mood, in the company of Taken By Cars, Urbandub, Alt-J, The Smashing Pumpkins, Drake, and Illenium. It gave me stride when I realized that I can reach places. It distracted me by taking me to amazing surroundings, sunrises, and sunsets. It widened my horizon by making me notice pure everyday joys like laughing kids, sweet couples, and friendly strangers who became my pacers. It affirmed my power to steer, my capability to improve, and my acceptance of my limits. It made me find simple delight in hearing my heart pound for I felt very much alive and free. And yes, it killed my body fat without sacrificing my extra rice. No regrets, my feet are not complaining at all. It was a kickass ride!
I guess I'm getting overdramatic as this post took a lot of pain to write with a few days left before my supposed gun start. For now, farewell, dear running. I really miss you but I promise that I shall see you again.
Good luck to my batchmates who will run the TBR Dream Marathon next week! Run for me!!! ;-)
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