Wow its been 2 weeks since the big day. I wasn’t really sure what to expect at all as I crossed that line. It had such a build up and anticipation. Gosh I was overly emotional in the week before hand, planned everything; all strategies and tactics to cope with the situation. What if something went wrong, what if it all went to plan. I swear to God, as I reflect on it, it was nearly as well thought out and strategically planned than the first time I had sex.
Yet as I crossed the line, a line I knew I would cross regardless of the performance on the day, I didn’t feel what I thought I would. It was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t have the overwhelming emotions, no tears that had engulfed my previous week. That’s not to say I wasn’t elated. I was, and I knew I had achieved what I wanted to. Faith in the training the whole way round got me there. I danced up the finishing straight to pick up my medal and t-shirt and to Michael and Brendan. I smiled for most of 26.2 mile, I smiled for the days afterwards.
You see I look back and realise…
The marathon journey is like a relationship. It starts of with meeting the concept by booking the event. Anticipation, excitement, scared of what is to come from this relationship and journey. It gets off to a fantastic start, you go with the flow and focus turns from the normal training plan to something more dedicated and streamlined.
You progress onto spending most of the day thinking about it. How you begin to enjoy the long runs, they are hard work but like a relationship, sometimes it can be challenging. You have the good runs where they like a perfect date, just everything fuses together and plays out according to plan. There are the bad runs, when you push through it and negotiate with yourself and the situation to get through it.
Feeling like you have nothing more to give to something that means so much and that you want so bad. You have the arguments and the hurt, the pain of niggles and injuries, the uncertainty if this is going to work out and trying to manage the ups and downs without admitting defeat. Its worth fighting for. The pure emotional roller coster of every breath and movement being encapsulated by the journey.
So when it comes to the defining moment in that relationship, in my case the marathon day, you put all your eggs in one basket and hope to God that you are going to see it through to the end because more than anything you want it to work out. You stand at the start line and you are there with possibly every odd stacked against you. You recall the training, the hurdles you overcame to get here, the mistakes in the bad runs and what went well in the good runs to make them so fantastic. You know there are people who are watching intently and emotionally immersed in every step you take, most of whom want this to go well for you, some sadly who want you to fail.
You know you have the ability to make this relationship a success. But what if your best and your everything isn’t enough? That the relationship isn’t going to be the roaring success you thought it could be? You stand there and face every last little bit of incompetency and struggle you have encountered, not just since the relationship started but of the many years of life before that. There’s so much that your smile is hiding. Beyond the surface there’s complexities, struggles and a history which could easily consume you and ruin it all. And although you are a million times over and over again, above and beyond what your past dictated, you still have the scars and the wounds are still open.
So as you go through each mile, every inch of the whole journey of life passes from your head to your feet and to the ground below as it takes every moment in your life to keep you moving in the right direction. You pound out the bad runs, you pound out the negativity and as you cross the half way point, you know you are half way there to making this relationship work. What faces you in front is not pleasant, but you are not willing to give up on it. As you spy the 800metre line you realise that actually your best is good enough. The relationship is going to work out and be a success.
Though I guess as with every relationship, even when you achieve relationship milestones and life goes on, it doesn’t mean what you achieved in the past will naturally flow into every other day of your life. You will still face the same ups and downs, niggles and injuries because actually the journey of the marathon turns out to not be a stand alone event, just like a relationship. Its just part of your life, it’s just not your whole life.
I will still wake up tomorrow a mother, a wife, a friend and still trying to get better at this running malarkey. Yeah I’m a marathoner too, but its just part of the story. Possibly the first chapter of a much longer relationship, with Derry on the horizon, and many good and bad runs ahead, with many more encounters with the darker thoughts in my head to come. A repeat of the journey maybe. But you know what, I’ve got this far and haven’t done too bad.