As Jess moves into the most intense part of her training for an upcoming marathon, she reflects on how the desire to run has taken over her life.
Fatigue. That’s the best way to describe the last two weeks. I am in the most intense part of my training. I have one more week of pushing my body to its furthest and deepest reserves — and then I begin my taper. The taper is the part where runs are scaled back for a few weeks prior to an important race so that the body can be rested, ready and injury free on race morning.
I ran the Comox Valley Half Marathon a few weeks ago and didn’t get a “personal best” as I planned the run as part of my training schedule, but the race let me know that my body was responding to all the hard work, that I was moving beyond injury and well on my way to being prepared to run the marathon.
I have moved into the crazy part of training. My life, literally, revolves around running. I plan my days in such a way that I have the time to fit in long runs, stretching, strength training, eating — all the while working full time and raising four children. The only way this is possible is because my kids are in school and are old enough (finally) to be left alone for short periods of time.
I try not to feel guilty about this completely self-indulgent lifestyle. I was a stay-at-home mom for 10 years and I had given up any kind of personal life for that entire time. I was completely immersed in the full-time care of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. The days of playgroups, toddler tumble times and endless years of sleep deprivation are behind me. This is my time and this is my reward.
I no longer spend leisurely afternoons cooking intricate meals, getting my hair cut and coloured, or just reading books. The only books I read now are about running and injury prevention. I don’t get my eyebrows done. I can’t even remember the last time I bought clothing that wasn’t running related. My social calendar revolves around trips to physiotherapy and the local running store for information, advice and purchases of energy gels.
Last week I ran my longest run ever — 30 kilometers — and went to work that evening. Seven months ago I couldn’t walk for four days after running 21 kilometers. Now it’s all just part of the life of learning how to prepare your body to move for four hours. To beat it up and force it to keep going.
That’s all I have left.
Then I can return to normal life.
I’m so excited to do this, to accomplish a goal that’s been one year in the making.