I run a marathon tomorrow. I know it’s going to hurt, but I’m not worried. If there’s one thing my Midwestern background taught me, it’s how to suffer. I grew up enduring 100 degree summers with humidity and mosquitoes, followed by bone-chilling winters with blizzards that just won’t quit. I cheered for sports teams that will never win a championship. I voted for candidates in a massive minority. I wore pants knowing the cuffs would get dirty and gross from snow piles, and I straightened my hair knowing full well it would frizz in 10 minutes. I knew my options, I weighed the odds, and then I sucked it up and lived with my choice.
I shook my Minnesotan accent not long after moving, but I’ve clung to my martyrdom for dear life. This has served me well with running.
Simply put, I run well because I suffer well.
Suffering is part of everyone’s life, regardless of how glass-half-full you insist on being. But even a crabby pragmatist like myself can acknowledge that if nothing else, suffering toughens you up. Here is a non-comprehensive list of other things I’ve endured as training for this marathon, intentional or otherwise:
- Glamorous running side effects like blisters and chafing
- IT band pain, cured by the trusty RICE method
- A bruised foot after forgetting I left my laptop in my bed and sending it flying whilst pulling the quilt to make the bed. Fortunately nothing on my computer or foot was broken! (just sore and ugly for a few weeks)
- A lackluster social life caused by 5:00 a.m. weekend wake-up calls
- Being jumped on by more than one dog whose owners refuse to believe that leash requirements apply to them
- Jet lag on multiple occasions
- Overly crowded MAX trains that result in touching people I wouldn’t normally touch
- A mind-numbingly boring accounting class
- Finding a coupon for a free burrito after it had expired
- The first few weeks of a not-mandatory-but-you-reallllllllly-ought-to-participate work sponsored Bachelorette bracket contest
- Putting my things in boxes and then taking them back out of boxes (twice)
- Discovering the intense array of ways I can break my own heart
- That weird stray hair that auto-generates on your chin once you turn 30
- Accidentally farting during yoga in a class with no music
- Finding cat puke on the carpet mere inches away from where the tile floor starts
- Making eye contact with the bus driver who saw me running, but still drove away
Equal tragedies, every last one. Each left its own lessons and scars and calluses, making me better equipped for the next. Training, in all its forms, made me tougher. Now I’m ready. I’ve done the work, and I’m ready to enjoy the celebration of the marathon. I’m ready for the music and the signs and cheering. I’m ready for the adrenaline. I’m ready for the finish line. I’m ready for the medal.
Just like everyone else at the start line tomorrow, I lived through 100% of the things I faced this training period. After all that, what’s 26.2 more?