Lately, I've been thinking a lot on soldiering through difficult life stuff in order to get to the good stuff. A few weeks ago, Zoe was spending a few days in Denver with Nathan's parents so they could have some special time with their oh-so-grown-up granddaughter. The second day they were there I got a phone call saying Zoe was refusing to go on an outing to this amazing, "only in Colorado" type train ride called the Georgetown Loop Railroad. She had expressed interest in going the day before but had suddenly changed her mind that morning (after the tickets had been purchased). I asked for Zoe to be put on the phone and after we chatted about some other stuff first, I asked her why she didn't want to go on the train ride. She said she hadn't realized it was supposed to be so long and was afraid it would be boring. I told her I understood and then I said "I can't promise it won't be boring--it might be--but it also might be the most fun you've ever had. You wouldn't want to miss out on that just because you think it might be boring do you? Plus if it's boring, Grandma and Peepaw will be there to keep you company." She reluctantly agreed to go and told me later she was so glad she went. It was, in fact, really really fun.
The conversation was a nice reminder for me because I've been worried about our impending move to the exciting land of Who-Knows-Where next May. We know we'll be wrapping things up in this place we've come to love and call our own and the unknown is stressing us out. Where will we end up? Will it be permanent? Will we like it, love it, hate it, or make the most of it? Will we be able to go back East like Nathan and I both hope to? Will he have a good job? Will I find a job I like? Will we be heading toward our "worst case scenario" (ie: no jobs available and sleeping on someone's couch)?...etc. This past May, reality set in that we had a year left and I completely panicked and these questions were starting to depress me. I was having a hard time doing any of the things I enjoy doing or seeing the people I love to see without becoming sentimental and teary. For some magical reason I've found myself in a better place this past month or so, though. I realized somewhere along the way that Nathan and I have no way of answering any of these unknown questions in this moment. What if our ideal situation falls into our laps in a few months (or at the last minute even)? It would be so sad to think back on our last year here knowing I could have enjoyed it more instead of stressing out so much...it could be all for nothing. Also, if we are really bummed about where we are going next, I would be just as sad, or maybe more so, to realize I didn't enjoy Boulder as much as possible while I had it. Besides, no matter where we are next year, I know one thing for sure: I'll be there with Nathan, Zoe and Owen and that is enough to get me through a whole hell of a lot.
This isn't the first time I've realized I need to take my own advice. It happens all the time with the kids:
-"Don't worry, airplanes are completely safe. Those bumps are called turbulence. It's just like a bumpy road, that's all!"
-"Don't let them bother you, they are probably just having a bad day--it has nothing to do with you."
-"If you make a mistake, just try again or turn your mistake into a different idea. Then feel glad you made the mistake."
-"I know, I miss them too but we can write letters and call. We are always together in our hearts even if we can't be with them as much as we want to."
-"It takes a lot of time, patience and practice. Try not to feel frustrated. If you keep at it, you'll get it!"
-"I know it's hard, but that's why it feels so good to accomplish it. If it were easy, you wouldn't feel so proud of yourself."
I'm sure this list will be 20 times longer in a few years.
I've had to call upon my own insight all day today. I ran 17 miles this morning. The longest I've ever run by 2 miles and I only just hit that milestone 2 weeks ago. I chugged along pretty steadily during the first half of the run and during that strong beginning, I came to an interesting realization. I was thinking on this question I've been asked by a few people lately: "Is it easier than you thought it would be?" I've had people wondering this about both my long and short runs and I'm never quite sure how to answer. I'm not annoyed when people ask because I know I would probably be asking the same question if I wasn't the one doing the training but I haven't felt sure why I struggle to answer that question, until my run this morning. The reason I can't answer that question is because it's not easier than I thought it would be, but I'm afraid to say that out loud to people who already probably think I'm crazy for doing it.
The truth is, "easy" is not why I signed up to train for a marathon. I signed up because I wanted to test my body and mind more than I ever have and see what it feels like to come out on top of that. There's no way I could possibly use the word "easy" in any form when describing my 17 mile run this morning and sometimes I feel the same way about a 3 mile run. The second half of my run this morning was tortuous and I was seriously doubting my ability to pull this marathon off. I was reminding myself that I could just switch to running another half marathon and still be proud of the accomplishment. While I know this is true, it's not what I want right now in my life. I want to do it. I want to push through days like these so when I cross the finish line on October 13th, I can say "Man, remember that day I ran 17 and almost quit? I'm so glad I kept going!" and then get a huge hug from Nathan and the kids.
So, from now on when people ask me if the training runs are easier than I thought they would be, this is going to be my answer:
"I've learned that it's crazy hard, but possible and totally worth it."