A couple of weeks ago I opened up and told you how I’m searching for a new physical challenge in my life. After finishing my sixth marathon last month, I decided that I needed something different, something tougher. I shocked myself in Pittsburgh when I pretty much cruised through the race, running my dream time somewhat easily.
Actually, before I go any farther, let me correct myself. Easy is NOT the right word. I promise you there is nothing easy about a marathon, and I would never ever ever want to downplay what an accomplishment it is for anyone who has their sights set on running one. There is nothing easy about waking up before the sun on a Saturday morning in February to run 18 miles. There is nothing easy about working all day and coming home to run 8 miles, even though it’s cold and drizzling and you want nothing more than to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and some bad tv. There is nothing easy about running 26.2 miles around the streets of an unfamiliar city.
Easy is definitely not the word I want to use. But familiar is. The marathon experience became familiar to me. In my umpteen years of running, my body has never felt quite so “at home” as it does when I long run. It knows what to do. My body knows the miles now. It likes the miles. It anticipates the miles. When I trained for my first marathon back in 2011, when it was still an unfamiliar feat, I made a lot of sacrifices. I dropped weekend plans. I delayed starting grad school. I changed my diet. I gave the marathon my full attention, which is what it deserved.
But now the run has become strangely commonplace in my life. I’m becoming uncomfortably complacent about the distance. This year on St. Patrick’s Day, I woke up, ran 20 miles, came home, made brunch for my friends, took a 45 minute nap, then hopped on the train to center city for a day of Irish revelry, not returning home until after midnight. On the Phillies’ opening weekend this spring, I woke up on Sunday morning before 7AM, ran 22 miles, made myself a couple of eggs, then rushed down to the stadiums so as not to miss a minute of the pre-game tailgate. My last early morning 20 miler of the training cycle was followed by a day of fun in the sun at Hershey Park and a visit to the Troegs Brewery.
When it comes down to it, I know I can run a marathon. And I guess what I’m looking for is something that I’m not quite certain I can do. I’m looking for an experience that forces me way out of my comfort zone. I want to be a fish out of water. I want to be a deer in the headlights. I want to feel uncertain. I want to be challenged.
After much thought and some encouragement from a friend, I’ve settled on the Quakerman Triathlon. The race consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 58 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. I know I’ve got the run down, but I’ve never swam or rode even close to those distances. But, I’ve got 3 months to get there and I plan to train my butt off all summer long! Since this is such a new experience for me, I thought it would be fun to do a series of The Road To Quakerman posts, to log my journey. I’ll share the ups and downs of training along with a handful of recipes that are fueling me along the way.
Most importantly, as I prepare for Quakerman, I hope to see the benefits transcend to all facets of my life: my work, my cooking, my friendships, my blog. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty excitable girl. I’m a really excitable girl, actually. I get way too excited about far-from-exciting things. But I want to be more than excited. I want to feel inspired again. Deeply, bone shakingly inspired. And a little bit scared.
Are you ready to chase your dreams? Because I sure am!!