Monday, July 9, 2012

The Maybe Marathon

I think I've signed up for the Richmond marathon maybe three or four times already.  Every year it's in November, but I have yet to actually run it.  One year I got hit by a car in August.  One year I found out I was pregnant in September.  One year I'm pretty sure I just gave up.  But this is the year, dammit!  I've been running pretty steadily for the last few months, and today I started my actual 18 week training plan (Hal Higdon, if you're interested in these things).  I set my alarm for an obscenely early hour, and  promptly slept through it.  I'm pretty sure my sleeping self just thinks my awake self is an idealistic asshole, so she ignores me.

I rolled out of bed when I heard Henry crying for me, far too late to get a run in and still make it to work on time.  So when I got home I had to scramble to beat the rain that's looming over us, but hasn't actually fallen.  I trundled through my three miles, dragged the trash out to the street, gave Henry a bath, and am now settling in for the night, promising to get up early and actually get my run done tomorrow morning.

Lots of people have asked me why I'm doing this.  Well, they don't so much ask in words, but in their response to you saying you're going to run a marathon.  I don't go around telling people this, because quite frankly if I fail the fewer people to say "So, how'd that marathon go?" to me, the better.  But when exercise and fitness comes up, and I mention that I'm training for one, the look I get is generally one that you would associate with someone saying something like "So I've decided I"m going to quit work and cartwheel all day" or even "I just crapped my pants."

To be fair, I've heard the second one can and does happen to marathon runners.  It's a legitimate fear.  That, nipple bleeding, and your upper arm flaps catching in the breeze and blowing you back a mile or two.  Well, these are the things that I worry about, anyway.  Although the last one could work in my favor if I catch a back wind and sail across the finish line like one of those flying squirrels.

I used to be a pretty ok runner.  I ran cross country in high school and always placed in the top ten, but was never really a stand out.  I had it in me to be a great runner-I just never tried that hard.  Lately I've realized that there's not too much I have tried that hard at.  I'm lucky enough that i get by on mediocre effort-I made good grades, I do okay at most jobs I've had, I found a nice little weird group of friends.  I think a lot of people are like that.  It's not the trying hard that scares me-it's the failing.  I mean, what if I put everything into something and it blows up in my face?

I decided I"m going to start finding out.  The first thing I knew I wanted to do the best I could at was motherhood.  I knew if I ever had a kid I was going to love the hell out of them and be the best mom I could be-which doesn't mean helicoptering or making excuses for them or spending every free moment skipping through fields of wildflowers or making them completely dependent on me.  My friend at work, Steve, has a saying he got from his dad.  "Give them a strong foundation and wings."  So make a solid kid and then make them want to get the hell out of your house and live their own lives without doing anything too stupid. I try to plant seeds for good growth daily in Henry.

Like today, when he was eating blueberries and Ben was mentioning that he'd seen a guy with a Redskins neck tattoo, and I cradled my son's beautiful little face in my hands and said "Henry, if you get a neck tattoo, Mommy won't pay for college."

And before my many tattooed friends get mad at me, I'm not against tattoos. Quite frankly I think good ones are great.  I went nerd-girl over guys with black glasses and tattoos before Target started selling Ramones t-shirts to hipster tweens (and before nerd-girls realized they could get guys).  I went to a super preppy college, and instead of donning the sweater set and attending semi formals, I found a bunch of townie misfits who were in bands or wanted to go see bands and introduced me to punk rock and who helped me figure out who I am.  I sat in class next to people in polo shirts and capris wearing my Descendants shirt proudly.  Not that all preppy people are jerks and all tattooed musicians are great-there's douche bags in every group, and I"m an expert on that, because I dated all of them.  In my late teens and early twenties I was a goddamn d-bag magnet.  But most of those townies I could still sit down and have a beer with, and I kept in touch with exactly one person I went to college with (and she is a totally awesome mom who suggested we write a book called Mamacide) (copyright pending).

But my point is, tattoos can be great, I married a guy with four and can't think of many people I know besides me that doesn't have one.  That being said, don't fucking get them places where business dress won't cover them.  Because as much as you like the tattoo and that area of your body, you might also like getting a legitimate job one day, and playing punk rock on the weekends.  And guy with a Redskins tattoo on your neck...well, I just don't know what to say to you.

Anyway, I"ve gone severely off track, but my point was, I've got a great kid, I've got a great job, I've got a great tattooed husband and now I've got a marathon to run.  Stand back, people, Megan's going to make an effort.  Maybe we'll all be surprised by the results.

Or maybe we'll all just crap our pants.

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