“Good work Mom.” Luc said as we high fived. That run was hilly, it was an hour fifteen minutes. It was our longest run so far as he heads into cross country and I head towards the marathon. We don’t look at pace or even heart rate. We know aerobic, we know easy.
We have slowly built up to 30 miles per week. I am headed to forty, he is headed to whatever his coach feels is a good place for him. I don’t step on his run coach’s toes, but I can add in the support. Luc knows how to run in the heat, he knows how to add electrolytes, carry a handheld, I teach him the background stuff. He listens, he executes.
My legs have been tired as I have been adding on the cycling and running miles. I am still SUPing in replacement of swimming, but I feel my swim desire beginning to burn.
Hold off…. hold off.… I remind myself…. right now it’s all to support the marathon. I am good with that. I am even better with what I am hoping this marathon will be. For once I am unconcerned about the time. Four hours, six hours, I don’t care. I will arrive at the start and the finish with solid slowly built sustainable mileage, and I will arrive there healthy.
I am loving the process more than I ever have, and I have always loved the process. I am grateful to not be a slave to the past. Times, paces, sizes…. I don’t go back. I go forward. My career is a storied one and I have loved every piece of every moment. But I have no interest in capturing the past, reperforming the past.
My parents raised me to never be attached to paces, times, placings, size. My parents raised me with a strong self-esteem because of who I am. I am not a result. I am legit because I say I am legit. When I look back on my life I don’t see the collections of medals and plaques…. I see the faces of everyone who has become my family over these years.
That is what this marathon is about. The continued journey. The next chapter.
Over the past few months I have loved folding in the miles week after week. I have loved the feeling the cloud of graduate school left over me. It was filled with uncertainty for my athletic future and it was so darn unclear.
It’s clear now.
I am an athlete and I am unapologetically one. I don’t go to the symphony, and I am not sorry for that. Instead, I am out exploring the world on my feet and on my wheels. It’s just who I am. Uncultured in the arts but cultured in the art of nature and the art of self-discovery.
That burning desire to come toe to toe with myself … is building. Gaining momentum. Gaining power. I feel like it’s “the roll of thunder chasing the wind“. I am craving the feeling of going into that dark place…. and dark places aren’t always bad…. when the going gets tough. I want to experience being stripped down to my core, looking myself in the eye, and deriving the strength to overcome and achieve.
I am back in tune with the meditative experience the long miles brings to me. There is a place out there…. for me it happens after a while… of whatever it is I am doing. Where your heavy breathing, your heart rate and your stride settle into a beautiful rhythm. Your mind quiets and your soul opens. It’s just you out there. Even when you are with someone it’s just you out there. No music. No beeping. No alarming.
I don’t chase after people…. I chase after dreams. My dream is to keep chasing.
Today I am chasing Luc as we run. Two weeks ago I ran on his shoulder, now he’s 100 yards in front of me, chasing his own dreams.
To be out here together, doing that together, is perhaps the greatest gift of parenthood (To be fair I think everything is the greatest gift of parenthood). I don’t take this for granted. This week our routine gets fractured a bit as his cross country club begins, but we got each other this far.
Next spring I will return to the swim, bike and run. It’s a long road to get there but I will. Dreams are taking shape, the ones that make my heart flutter like it used to. Ones that have me again asking the question “What if?”. They aren’t clouded anymore, they are not uncertain.
I am an athlete. I chase dreams. I only look forward.
So here we go.