Somewhere Between the Journey and the Destination

This literally just happened, I was standing in the kitchen of our apartment in St. Moritz, adding hummus to a turkey sandwich, as it were, and I realized that my build-up for the Frankfurt Marathon is over and that made me sad but also happy, and then I realized that experiencing both of those emotions simultaneously feels really weird. We (Scott Smith, Matt Llano, and I) did our last workout this morning. Not our last hard workout, or our last long workout, or our last turnover based workout. Our last workout, period before the Frankfurt Marathon (I have always been curious about how you convey saying the word period to prove a point in writing. Like, there’s a symbol, ., but there’s also the word, period and if you use the word do you capitalize some or all of it?).

              It was a simple workout, 2 miles at marathon effort, 8x400 at half marathon pace-ish, and then 2 miles at marathon effort, it felt good and it went well. But it didn’t feel like an adequate punctuation of the work we did to get to that point. It was pretty underwhelming compared to the weeks and months of work that we’ve done up to this point. It was kind of like the end of No Country for Old Men, it just kind of ended and you’re left there wondering what the hell Tommy Lee Jones is talking about. That’s how today felt.

It’s hard to overstate how tiring and hard marathon training was. I mean, it’s not that tiring and hard in the big picture of the world, obviously there are many things that are harder and more tiring than being a professional runner training for a marathon, like coal mining. That movie with Jake Gyllenhaal, October Sky, makes me really not want to be a miner and makes running seem very bearable. But anyways, this last training segment was really hard, and to get myself through the biggest and hardest weeks I focused solely on getting through the next big day. All I worried about was putting myself in a position to do well in the next thing, and then when that thing was over, I turned my attention to the thing after that, and then the thing after that. I just tried to enjoy, or at least tolerate, the process of marathon training, and now that’s over and maybe that’s where the happiness comes from. The process was hard and tiring and painful and I made it through all of that. Cool.

              But then there’s this other part of me that’s sad that it’s over because it felt right to be that tired all the time because I had earned that fatigue. I leaned into days where I felt like dog shit and I didn’t ask for easy days so that my legs would feel better. I just put my head down and worked and worked and worked until my muscles were calloused and I was falling asleep on the couch at 7pm. I felt fragilely invincible, if that makes sense. At times I felt like I was on the edge of exploding into a million pieces and there were days when 8 minute pace felt like the fastest I could possibly run, or maybe would ever be able to run again. But, then at other times I felt strong and powerful and light and efficient all at the same time. I caught a few days in this build-up where things clicked and I could let myself flow. Feeling one way on one day, and then the other way on the next day was fun, in its own weird and masochistic way. Everything was a really hard 8 last few months and that took me to a place that I have never been before, either physically or mentally, and that’s a super cool feeling. So, I guess it’s sad that I won’t get that again for a while and it’s sad that I can’t get more invincible.

              It’s weird to feel these things at the same time for multiple reasons. First, because they are opposite emotions and even just the knowledge that humans are complex enough to feel multiple ways about one thing at the same time is crazy. But then, actually feeling those two conflicting emotions about one stimuli is a whole new level of crazy. So, there’s that. But there’s also the fact that all the training, all the good things and all the bad things, had a point. And that point was to get my body ready for October 29th 2017 from 10:00 to approximately 12:11 in Frankfurt, Germany. That shit was all for one day. Not even one day, one morning. That is both scary and exciting at the same time. Scary because the marathon is a new thing and a hard thing. But also, exciting because training has been great and I am very fit and I am very curious to see what the fitness I am in means. This is uncharted territory for me and it’ll be an adventure. So now we have 2 more emotions. It’s very confusing.

              I don’t have a wise or pithy ending to this blog. I don’t really have any wisdom about feeling opposite emotions at the same time. Maybe one of the 3-5 people not including my parents who read this can glean something from this steam of consciousness set of words that I constructed into paragraphs. I just had a funny feeling while I was putting hummus on a turkey sandwich and wanted to explore it and also remind you guys that I am making my marathon debut here in a couple days.