It’s been two months since the Prague International Marathon, and I am home from Prague, settled back at my desk in Chicago, and, sixth months after I began this adventure, I’m finally able to take a moment to reflect on the marathon and its impact on my life.
When I first decided to train for the Prague marathon, I had a few specific motivations. They were:
1. The training will be great physical conditioning for me.
2. Losing these stubborn last 10 lbs.
3. A celebration of what I have accomplished, physically, in these past few years — to push myself to achieve something that for most of my life never even entered my consciousness as something I would be able to do.
4. To keep myself in line in terms of diet and other bad habits: namely, drinking, smoking, and sloth.
5. Great way to continue to avoid working on the novel I have been revising for the past 2 years!
6. To be bad assed.
My marathon epilogue seems like a fine time to revisit each of these motivating factors.
1. Physical conditioning.
Yeah! No one can go, more or less loyally, through the progressive process of training for a marathon without experiencing great improvements in her physical conditioning. I mean, I got to the point where running ten miles was an easy and joyful experience for me. That’s cardio conditioning, strength, and endurance all working for me. Score: Kathie 1
2. Losing the last ten.
Hmm. Not quite as successful on this front, which may have much to do with my subsequent 6 weeks in Prague and the associated consumptions of beer and dumplings. BUT I have shaped and toned my body better, and my legs look great (if I do say so myself). Score: Last Ten 1
3. Te celebrate and build on what I’ve accomplished through fitness.
yes yes yes yes yes Score: Kathie 2
4. To curb my bad habits.
no no no no no Score: Bad Habits 1
5. Novel avoidance technique
This worked great! However, as a byproduct of my focus on commitment and dedication to marathon training, I’ve picked up and dusted off that old manuscript with the hope of applying the same determination to just finish it and send it off into the world once and for all. So, 50/50. Score: tie
6. Bad Assery
I’ll admit that I felt anything but a bad-ass in the loneliness and desolation of miles 18 – 23. But then, putting some context to it — those were miles 18-23, for cri-pete’s sake! And Nikki and I still found it somewhere within to rally for the last 5K. And we crossed that motherfucking finish line. Not to mention that we trained in Chicago in the winter, in snow, rain, sleet and strong winds, and even with painkles. So, hands down: Score: Kathie 1,000,000 .
And what I’ll add to this is that I gained a concrete, indisputable realization that if you set your mind on a goal, and you are willing to put the time and energy and unwavering (okay, maybe slightly wavy) focus towards obtaining that goal, no matter how outrageous that goal may be, or what obstacles may get in your way, you can accomplish it. So far that, score + 1,000,000,000,000
So now the questions, what have I been doing with myself since the marathon? And what do I hope to do next? Is there another marathon in my future?
In the initial weeks following the marathon, I did my best to rest my ankle and let my tendonitis heal properly. This is not easy in a walker-friendly but hill and cobblestone-tastic city like Prague!
And I did yoga. It doesn’t suck to do yoga in the mornings in Letna Park, with a nice view of Prague castle. And something else about the yoga — when I first started to try the tree pose, and other balance poses, my “painkle” (if you’re new to this blog refer back to past posts for plenty of painkle-context) was too hurty to hold my body weight. But doing yoga, this changed really fast. In fact, I’d say that yoga has been the most effective and enduring treatment of my painkle that I have discovered thus far. And eventually, I did a few little runs — 2.5 miles through the park. And it felt alright.
Then coming back to Chicago and so much settling back in to do and the big heat wave etc., etc., I’ve been a little slow to really start kicking it again. But within the past week I’ve done two runs — a 4 miler and a 5 k — and next week I return to my bi-weekly bootcamp classes after what must be about a 5 month absence. So, I’m working my way back into it. My goal for this summer and fall is to get back up to a fun, easy and comfortable ten miles, and from that point on, to always be able to pull out a half-marathon. That’s just a kind of general life-fitness standard I hope to maintain.
Also, some years ago, my friend Chelsey (who is an ultra-runner and a huge inspiraration/intimidation to my own running aspirations), and I had the idea of putting together a feminist and queer-friendly ‘zine dedicated to health, fitness, and well-ness from a real-world perspective. While I have been going through this journey, I really felt the absence of such a publication, and therefore, in January 2013, and with the help of some other real world fitness-minded feminists, I will be launching Ms. Fit magazine . Until the launch, we’ll have this provisional website up, with a call for submissions, a place for you to share your stories and ideas, and some teaser content coming around the bend. I am very excited about Ms. Fit and it’s potential to connect and create community between like-minded feminists across the US and across the world, to share information, entertain, enlighten, and inform. Because truly, in the face of everything that misogony and homophobia throws at us, just being healthy and happy is an act of defiance.
So please, watch out for Ms. Fit, help me spread the word, and click on the “follow” link on the Ms. Fit page to be updated on new content.
Now as for future marathons? I might have my sights on something.
As an aside, you may recall that after trouble getting a legitimate bib, Nikki ran the marathon rogue and didn’t take a metal. Well, after she left, but before I returned home, I found an engraver…