Monday, November 19, 2012

The World is Your Oyster...
Greetings and Salutations!

I think Shakespeare must have been a runner.

What?  You think I'm wrong?  Alas, if you look into the lines of his play, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," you would know that one of this characters delivers the line, "Why, then, the world's mine oyster, Which I with sword will open."  Surely he's talking about running, and running long distances, isn't he?

Okay, so maybe Shakespeare wasn't a runner, but I think those of us who are into fitness can utilize that adage in our own lives.

You see, if you've ever shucked an oyster, you know how challenging it can be.  You can pry away at that outer shell for hours on end, and that bad boy isn't going to open without a fight.  That barrier is our challenge, and in order to revel in what's inside the oyster, you have to be able to fight through that hard outer shell.

For the last year, I've been running, and I'm going to be completely honest.  It's STILL not easy.  In fact, I ran a half marathon two weekends ago and I thought my legs were going to fall off somewhere between miles 9 and 10.  I finished the race wondering, "Why do you do this?"

The answer isn't so easy.  Do I do it because I LOVE to run?  Absolutely not.  I don't love running at all.  In fact, there are days when I despise every. single. step. I. take.  BUT, I do love some aspects of the entire running process.  I LOVE the way I feel after a 10+ mile training run.  I LOVE finishing a run under a time goal that I've set.  I LOVE when I'm somewhere in a long run and I think, "Wow, this almost feel easy today."  In addition, I LOVE crossing a finish line and having a medal draped around my neck.  It's like my own personal Olympic Games.  I also LOVE the people I've met along the way.  It's a pretty cool experience to be grinding around 13.1 miles with people who encourage and cheer and joke and commiserate.

At this time, I've run 3 half marathons.  My times haven't been world beaters, I can only run (I know, I know...that word "only") about 7 or 8 miles without having to stop to give my legs and my lungs a 30 second break, and 13.1 miles HURTS.  I could train and improve my half marathon time and it would be a great goal.  The thing is...there's that oyster left staring at me. Nobody at the shucking table could get through his shell.  It even looks as though he may be mocking at me, saying, "Neener, neener, nee-ner."

I think I've just started to open the oyster that is my world.  To me, it would make tremendous sense to keep improving and keep training to work on my half marathon goal of finishing in under 2 hours (right now I'm running between a 2:12-2:16 half marathon).  Yet I set my eye on the biggest oyster at the shucking table, the one who places his little oyster fingers in his ears and sticks his tongue out at me.  Why run for 13.1 when you can run for 26.2?  You see my logic, right?

Today I signed up for the Columbia (SC) full marathon on March 9th.  I have my 18 week training schedule mapped out, and I'm currently 2 days into week #3.  When I come out on the other side, when I get through that oyster shell, I will be a stronger and better person because of fight. I'm sure there will be days when I wonder what I've done.  Days when I wish I hadn't set this goal.  On March 10th, I'm pretty sure it will all be worth it.

My mom thinks I'm nuts.  My sisters say that if I'm going to run one, that I had better get it done before I'm their age!  My high school friend and marathoner, Angela, has been an incredible motivation (and the one that told me to just quit thinking about it and sign up already!) and sounding board.  And my husband always opens the door for me after a long weekend run, smiles and says, "Everybody stand back.  Stand back.  There's an athlete coming through."

Maybe he's right because the world is my oyster.

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