Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Imperfect metaphors

Some days I still can’t run a mile without walking, but I’m registered for a 6-miler in November and minded to try for a half--13.1 mi--in December. Those are big, scary, ouchy numbers. But I have to remember to take it one mile, one day at a time.

The joy of using imperfect metaphors for training: My dad taught me to only see the slope 20 yards directly in front of me and plan out one turn at a time . . . as he coaxed teen Mon crying down a double black diamond slope he never should have taken her up. Like a foot race, I had no choice but to finish the run and try really hard not to break every bone in my body. Or maybe that’s not like a foot race after all, but the point is: take it one step-turn at a time. And the only way out is through.

Which is two points, really. And I guess you don’t actually *have* to finish a race, but I do. A year ago, I sprained my foot a mile into the Gladiator Rock n Run, but I didn’t know it was sprained and thought maybe I could walk it off, so I finished the remaining three miles and then it swelled up like a fruit, or something, and I couldn’t walk for a couple days or run for 2+ months. (I prefer stubborn over stupid.)

Which is not unlike my first race ever, which was an optional event on a weekend trip that took place a shortly after I slipped on water on marble stairs in a dark stairwell (because who needs codes or safety in Asia, right?) and sprained my ankle pretty bad and still had to walk a mile each way every day to work. I could have sat it out with the non-runners and waited for everyone else to finish, but what fun would that be and when else would I ever get to run across uneven, sucking mud flats baking in the summer sun, right? Anyway, I had a decent little cloth ankle brace that would protect me as needed, right? So I jogged a little and walked a lot, sloshed and stomped, and deliberately jumped and splashed in the deepest puddles, and eventually, in a little less than an hour, I cantered across the finish line where a volunteer placed a shiny dun, mud-crusted finisher’s medal around my neck. It was a “Booyah, I earned that!” moment.

I ran a half once before (or mostly, because there was inclement weather and the organizers kept stopping us along the course to take shelter and shortened the course by a half mile before I finished), and I can do it again.

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