Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So I'm kinda' freaking out

For those of you who still faithfully check to see if I've updated my blog... well, I owe you a huge apology. Thank you for stopping by, time and time again, only to see that nothing has changed for months here in Mateo-land. But I'm alive, and I'm back. I can't promise that I'll make a weekly cameo here on blogger.com, but I'll do my best. Stay tuned.

So here I sit with less than a week until I run my third Chicago marathon, and my stomach is completely tied up in knots. Well, granted, most of my stomach issues have to do with the bowl of wasabi peanuts that I'm eating like candy. Regardless, I'm still a little nervous. Ok, a lot nervous. We're talking "George W. Bush at a spelling bee" kind of nervous.

Sure, every time I run a marathon, I get the jitters. That's to be expected. I've run three of them already - and I've had a fantastic time completing each one - but realistically, running a marathon is a big deal. There. I said it. Running 26.2 miles on bloody stumps and subsequently vomiting up your appendix happens to be a big deal. On a positive note, it's a lot less expensive than having to schedule an appendectomy, and you get a really cool long-sleeved t-shirt at the end.

But I still get nervous before every one. Very nervous. Usually, it doesn't set in until a day before the event; however, this year I was diagnosed with a severe case of early-onset nervioso. What was the catalyst? Well, I talked to my mother last night and told her that I was running a marathon this weekend. Big mistake.

- Normally, I like to wait until AFTER I do really crazy things to tell my mother I did them so she doesn't lie awake at night worrying about me.
- Normally, she sighs heavily and says things like "I just don't understand why you do these things to your body".

- Normally, I like to call her right after an event to share in the thrill of victory.
- Normally, she asks if I'm drunk because my runner's high makes me slur my speech.

- Normally, I tell her not to worry, because this is the last crazy event that I'll ever do.
- Normally, she knows I'm lying through my slurring teeth, and waits patiently for the next phone call.

Well, this must be the week for family phone calls, because my brother phoned Saturday night to wish me luck for this weekend. He and I were reminiscing about our first marathon, the one that we ran together a few years ago in Dallas. We were talking about how great it was and how terrible it was, how fun it was and how hard it was. Then my brother said something incredibly insightful that I've been mulling over a lot the last few days. He said, "It's crazy when you're out there all by yourself hitting the wall at mile 20 with noone around. There are a million reasons to quit, and only one reason to keep going. You just have to focus on that one reason."

He's dead on. Now keep in mind, I'm fully aware that marathoning isn't for everyone, but the analogy transcends to everything in our lives. We all have our challenges. We all have our demons. We all have our own race to run. What's your reason to keep going?

Back to marathoning. It's true what they say - the first 20 miles are physical, and the last 6.2 are mental. Anyone can physically train to run 20 miles. My mother, although she chooses not to, could physically run 20 miles. The true test comes after mile 20. That's when the pain sets in and your mind starts playing tricks on you. That's when you start hallucinating that rabid French poodles are chasing you. That's when you think that you can't take one more step. That's when fear grips you at the core and you start to doubt yourself and doubt your ability to finish. That's when you start to doubt your ability to do anything in your life.

That's why the finish line is so amazing. Not only do you conquer your own fears and self-doubts, you crush them. You beat them down, and make them cry uncle. The finish line is the culmination of all your hard work, training, and mental stamina. The tables turn, and you suddenly realize that you can accomplish anything. You're completely exhausted, but your battered body is so overwhelmed with a sense of pride that makes you feel like a comicbook superhero. (Not to mention the fact that they give you a silver mylar cape with which to warm yourself, visually completing your transformation into said comicbook superhero).

You've done it. You've won. You've conquered the marathon.

You've also conquered those damn French poodles. Trust me, after your runner's high wears off in a few hours, they will stop chasing you.


Anonymous Susan - Midtown Life said...

sounds like you are ready for this! You are going to do great - but best wishes to you anyway. (And just where the heck have you been for the last - oh - 17 million years?)

5:37 AM  
Anonymous jenny said...

Hey - I was wondering if you were doing the marathon again this year! A couple friends of mine are running it as well, so I'll be around taking photos on Sunday. I'll email you my cell number!

7:57 AM  
Blogger Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Funny I'm like way behind on my blog reading and tonight I decide to check blogline. Wait, is that Mateo's side in BOLD. OMG, I must be like physic or something.

One of the ladies I run with on Tuesday's is headed down to Chicago to do the marathon there as well.

Don't worry about being nervous. Heck I get nervous before running a 5km...lol. Good luck with the race and have an awesome time.

8:14 PM  
Blogger anne said...

I'm so glad you're back! (and yes, i was one of the dorks who checked daily for word from you. . . ) oh mochateo, i love to hear your thoughts and i'm just sayin'- next time those french poodles are chasing you, just look back and snarl something appropriately nasty in french, that should do it. Good luck mah leetle tete-de-chou! Anne

11:51 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

How was Chicago? I was so glad to see an update. Things in Texas are good.... no fall to speak of ... it will be 80 today. I miss that crisp air in Iowa.

10:23 AM  
Blogger mcewen said...

so do you find 'running' helps release some of the OCD or does it just make it worse?
Best wishes

4:32 PM  

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