So, I completed the Eugene Marathon today! It was slow-going: being relatively untrained + being sick = we’re all lucky I’m still standing, let alone moving myself 26.2 miles. And guess who finished in the top 25? Runnerboy. Seriously, we keep doing the same races, but we don’t run into each other so that I can punch him. I thought I’d seen him during the portion of the course that doubled back on itself, but at new year’s he had no intention of doing Eugene. I think a poor performance (by his standards) at Boston changed that. But anyway, I’m still angry about the way he treated me. I’ll eventually let it go, I promise!
Anyway, the race finish was on the track at Hayward Field, the home of legends Steve Prefontaine and Bill Bowerman, and the powerhouse University of Oregon track program that was built on that foundation. It felt so surreal, running the straightaway that Pre used to run (much faster, of course), this place that I’d dreamed about for some fifteen years. Fifteen years ago I never would have imagined I’d be finishing a marathon (and not my first!) at Hayward Field. I’d like to imagine that 15-year-old Caitlin is pretty impressed with how far I’ve come.
In 24 hours, I hope to be snuggled in bed with my sweet kitty. I expect to be in a lot of pain. I also expect to be asleep.
In 12 hours, I’ll be a few miles into my second marathon. I’m not sure what to expect from my body tomorrow morning. It should be a beautiful day regardless!
Right now I’m lying in bed in a hotel near the University of Oregon campus, coughing sporadically and wishing my throat wasn’t still sore. I’m trying not to overanalyze what may or may not happen tomorrow…I’d just like to go with the flow. And I’m trying to figure out the sports and activities I can occupy myself with as my running burnout continues on.
It’s been an unnecessarily rough few weeks. I kept thinking, Oh, I really ought to write about this, and then I’d try to figure out how to say what I wanted to say, and it was a muddy mess. And potentially more than I’m comfortable disclosing. So maybe I’ll begin to sort through this stuff in the next few weeks and try to lift some of the weight from my shoulders.
I discovered this week just how horrendous seasonal allergies can be. Broadleaf maple trees, otherwise known as “Oregon maples,” are my latest nemesis. Since they’re unavoidable — I live in the state they’re named after — I’m doomed. Back in Ohio, I’d experience what mainly felt like a mild cold, usually at its most irritating during weed pollen time. As I ran under a line of broadleaf maples the other night, tromping on their flowers piled on the sidewalks and streets, I felt my throat tighten and my nose instantly turned into a spigot. I coughed and coughed and couldn’t breathe, and then my eyes started to itch. An inhaler sure would’ve been nice to have on hand! The rest of the time I’m just dealing with a sore/scratchy throat, swollen glands, and a persistent cough. This would be less of a worry if I didn’t have a marathon on Sunday.
This Sunday. A day and a half from now. Ack.
This morning I felt lousy enough to consider calling off work (but didn’t). I spent the morning contemplating the idea of switching from the marathon to the half marathon. But you know what? I realized I had no intention of racing it anyway, and with the prevalence of my new favorite trees, I was just going to go out there and enjoy the gorgeous weather and scenery. My fellow Portland running chicks are out there to challenge time goals, and it’s so easy for me to get caught up in that mindset and start comparing myself to them in the millions of ways that female runners do. In my dream of dreams, I’d like to break 5 hours. Back in December when I registered for this, I anticipated a much more regimented training plan. I was gonna aim for 4:30! But my health has been just lousy enough for me to not feel well enough to run and work out as much as I’d like to. Ah well. I sure did enough running in the first half of 2011 to earn some downtime.
And now for a kitty story! So as you may know, Frank is a superb snuggler. It’s been really difficult for me to get out of bed in the morning, not just for the usual reasons, but because Frank is snuggling aggressively and will bite me if I try to get up. Well last night, while lying on my back in my burning throat coughing poor breathing state, Frank climbed onto my chest and settled in with his front paws pressing on the bottom of my throat (which is quite raw from all the hacking). The next thing I knew, he’d lowered his head onto my shoulder, nestling in between my hair and my neck. I leaned my head in that direction to return the snuggle, and ohh, soft kitty cheek on your face is a little like heaven.
“What we are taught when it comes to rape, over and over and over again, is that ‘No means no.’ And, of course, that’s true. But what so many people don’t seem to understand is that there are many shades of gray when it comes to rape, that it can be confusing. That doubt, that constant need to defend and reaffirm my experience even just to myself, is one of the worst parts of my recovery.” (See Unbreakable.)
Hey, it’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month!
I suppose it’s appropriate then that I’m struggling with an overwhelming amount of doubt. As an analytical nerd, I think it would be interesting to wear my running heart rate monitor when I’m not running and see what happens as my thoughts drift all over the place (and occasionally settle into memories of the traumatic events I’ve been trying to work through over the past year or so). I’m very thankful for my snuggle-bunny cat these days — he certainly makes it easier to fall asleep at night, and when I wake up in the middle of the night, upset over the dreams I’ve been having, he makes sure to snuggle in closely to comfort me. Everyone should be so lucky!
How on earth has it been six months since I rolled into town? It still doesn’t feel real to me. How have I been so lucky to have had two jobs where I liked my coworkers? And how was I so lucky to have been welcomed into the running chicks group at the 50K I did on a whim back in October? So many new and interesting people, and so many new and interesting experiences. The next six months will bring good weather and many adventures… I’m looking forward to it!