As much as I love the marathon distance, I have never really entertained running a fall marathon. I have a classroom to set up, students to get to know, marking and assessments to complete, an open house, progress reports, cross-country coaching – and I also have the task of getting my own two boys back into their routines. In the fall, my family, teaching and running lives collide; building mileage towards a marathon has never been in the cards.
Until this year. I really don’t know what I was thinking back in April when I registered for the Chicago Marathon. I really must have been going through a period of insanity. At the beginning of April, I was just getting back to working out again and, at that point, I was only running two or three times a week (if that); my weekly mileage was barely at 20k. Breaking my jaw in the winter meant that I was missing out on the spring marathon season and I was bitter about that. I needed to fill that void. My dad had passed shortly after Easter, my mom wasn’t well and I needed something to focus on – something positive and something for me. Clearly, training for a marathon would fill my time even if my plan was simply to just finish. Training for Chicago was about to consume me.
Before that final click to registering, I did think about the September start-up. “You’ll be fine,” I told myself. “You’re an experienced teacher. You know what you’re doing.” Clearly, I was delusional as I clicked “submit”. Then, I started dreaming about chasing ponytails and distance goals and it wasn’t long before I was focussed on rebuilding mileage and fitness. If the first half of 2015 was a test of my inner strength, the summer was a test of my physical. By the end of August, I had caught those goals.
And, then, last week happened: back to school. Suddenly, late nights were filled with laundry and planning lessons while early mornings became even earlier with drop-offs at two different schools before I arrived at my own. And, somehow, I had also planned to make last week my second highest mileage week before heading to Chicago – second highest, over 90 kilometres of running during the first week of the school year. What was I thinking?
But I got it done. By planning 8 runs over 7 days, which included a double-run day on the holiday, a late night run and a very early morning jog, I was able to reach the weekly distance I wanted: 93K done!
Am I tired? Yes, I am justifiably exhausted. Running is going well, school is great, my kids are happy and my house is a mess to prove it. But I am feeling like a rock star.
This afternoon, after my 93K week, I suddenly started to feel really tired, more like a rock star who had partied way too much on the weekend. Monday morning is going to hurt. And, once again, I am asking myself “What was I thinking?”