I’ve been called crazy a lot. I don’t want to say it happens on a daily basis, but it’s pretty often. I’ve gotten used to it because, well, that sort of comes with the territory when you belong to a group called the Marathon Maniacs that prides itself on being crazy about marathons and running so many of them that other people think you are crazy. Friends, coworkers, and family are generally united in their opinion that I’m absolutely out of my mind because I have run, on average, two marathons per month over the course of the past year, but the feelings are generally benign.
About a week ago, the definition of crazy changed when I ran my first “double.” That is, I ran two marathons in one weekend – one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. They were also in two different states – New Hampshire and Maine – and required travel on a logistical scale the likes of which I had never experienced. We got in late Friday night, woke up for the race Saturday morning, drove to Maine for the next race, woke up on Sunday, ran, and hopped on the plane back home. I made the fatal mistake of dragging my boyfriend, who is generally wonderfully supportive, along for this adventure.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. You see, my boyfriend is not a runner. He’s not an endurance athlete of any kind. He’s a golfer (which incidentally tests the upper limits of my endurance whenever I go watch) and he claims not to have the attention span for running or long bike rides or anything of the kind. That’s fine. I accept that.
On the plane ride home on Sunday, AJ asked me what my training plan was for the upcoming week, since I had the Chicago Marathon the following Sunday. Yes, you read that correctly. Three marathons in eight days. I told him what my triathlon coach had told me to do for the week, which was approximately 1/3 or less of my normal training volume. Almost all of the efforts were easy, and most focused on just keeping my muscles loose and ready for the race the next weekend.
He freaked out. “I don’t understand why you have to workout this week when you just ran two marathons in two days and you have another one next week! Why can’t you take a break? This is crazy!”
I just sort of stared at him blankly. “What are you talking about? This is like…30% of my normal training volume. This IS a break.”
And that’s when I realized that my definition of crazy, of normal, of reasonable might be slightly (or largely) skewed. This is my life, and it’s normal to me to work out 6 days a week. It’s normal to run 2 or more marathons a month. It’s normal to be gone almost every weekend.
But then I realized that just because something is reasonable to me doesn’t mean that it is necessarily reasonable in general, and just because I think that training all the time is no big deal doesn’t mean that everyone else does, and maybe, just maybe, my boyfriend had a point.
I spend every day in constant motion, whether I am working, training for the Ironman, blogging, cooking dinner from scratch every night (it’s a hobby), cleaning the house compulsively, doing homework for grad school, or running with one of the friends that I “coach.” I don’t know how to relax. I don’t find the nature of resting to be “relaxing” at all. But then I remembered something Chrissie Wellington wrote in her autobiography, which essentially says that she had to practice resting as a part of training. You don’t just get good at it overnight. It might be hard at first, but you have to keep at it until you become proficient, just like you do with swimming or biking.
So, I’m practicing. AJ and I made a deal. One night a week, I am not allowed to cook or clean or work out or basically do anything but hang out. If I have training scheduled for that day, it gets done in the morning or at lunch. I pick the day each week that works best for me. It’s hard sometimes, and I occasionally feel like I’m going to crawl out of my own skin, but life is about balance.
And besides, it’s not like I’m running a double every weekend or anything. That would be crazy.
When did you first realize you were crazy? Or, more likely, when did your family/friends first realize it?
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