Monday, March 26, 2012

The half-marathon.

Three hours and eight minutes. I only went over three hours because I had to stop and wait in a huge line for a bathroom break.  That took quite a while, it was ridiculous. I did not enjoy yesterday. It was definitely one of my shittiest running days ever. I felt like I was at the wall the whole time. My body just felt off the whole time. I felt sad and lonely. I resented the hell out of the fact that most people (that's pretty much a lie, but I'm going to ignore reality for a bit) were in groups and had supporters. I felt isolated and alone. I don't feel alone when I go running most of the time. I feel like I am running and no one in my life can do that with me so ok, I happen to be alone right now. Thank god I don't have to listen to their chatter.

When I am running in a big group of people it feels different. I feel like there is a glass wall between me and other people. I feel like they are on the other side, where people are loved and supported. Then there is me. Alone. Again. It's really idiotic and self absorbed. There were a lot of other people there alone. A few of them talked to me!

My feelings seem out of place with my reality. Ok, I was alone at the race. I felt sad that no one came to watch me run. I mean, dude. It was in Oakland. It's not like it is inconvenient to a large percentage of people I know. Someone could have. It's always complicated, you know? Yesterday I felt like this running thing is a bad idea.

I like how I feel when I run by myself. When I run by myself I feel like I'm not trying to compete with anyone else. I'm just doing my thing. When I run with other people I see how our paces match up and as I drop back and back and back in the crowd... that makes me feel lame. Then I start feeling shame. This is pretty ridiculous. I have been running for less than four months. I don't need to feel bad that I am not a better runner. It would not be particularly good for my body to try and insist that I be a faster runner right now.

I think I want to run the marathon because I am hoping I get to see my brother one more time. I'm not going to continue training so I can do it again. I saw my mother and my sister and my nephew and my aunt and my cousins once more before I broke ties. I haven't seen Jimmy in a long time. I know that he looks like my father. I feel like I am already losing the picture in my mind that I have of what that part of my family looks like. I feel unspeakably sad. I feel like there is a weight on my chest. I'm still grieving.

I'm told that grief is kept in your lungs. Shallow breaths keep the grief inside you. Running certainly makes me breathe more deeply. I cried as I ran. I missed my family and I longed for them so much it hurt. My family is the kind of family that is intensely good and intensely bad. I miss the good. I can't stay because of the bad. I'm really struggling with continuing to believe it is the right decision. I feel so much guilt. I feel so bad that I am keeping my kids away from my family. My mother lives in downtown San Jose. And she has never seen Calli. I feel so bad. I am a terrible person who is hurting my mother.

And I thought about that as I ran past all the cheering people on the sidelines. They were there to support someone they loved. I have driven off the people who would do that for me. And then I have a pity party about it. How pathetic. So I cried a lot while I ran. It was a very hard run.

I felt weird because I didn't see anyone else eat. I start eating between mile three and four. I take two or three handfuls of trail mix every other mile after that. I run hanging on to my little baggy. Sometimes I feel lazy and I put it in my pocket for a while. In the race environment I felt like the country bumpkin come to town and I'm doing it all wrong. I don't have sleek running gear. I'm not sure I've ever been that close to so much spandex in my life. And I ran in a cotton sweatshirt. I was given a lot of funny looks.  What? It's what I own. Everyone else was advertising a cause or showing off former marathon shirts. This is also, not true; I wasn't "the only one" but there really did seem to be a uniform and we were weird. Those of us who weren't wearing the uniform were quite odd. Oh, and then there were the ladies who ran in tulle skirts. They were cute.

I feel weird running next to people for long periods and not talking to them. It feels awkward and uncomfortable. It feels like a lot of pressure to come up with something to talk about. If I don't I feel gauche. And that distracted me from running, and them. I think that it is because people train at different paces. When you are in the group of people who are collectively running around fourteen minute miles that means there is a lot of walking. But people mix in their walking in different ways. It also felt like some people ran at a slow jog without really having to pause to walk. But they never went very fast. I'm a very impulsive runner. I run at the speed of the song on my headset. I have a lot of slow songs on purpose so I don't try to sprint forever, but I do sprint. Mostly the songs are the latest albums from Lady Gaga, Adele, and Katy Perry with a few older songs I like mixed in. It's a whole bunch of songs that cause me to sit and think about different relationships in my life. I like how I wander through different topics as time goes on. I'm not stuck thinking about the same person in the same way every time I hear any particular song.  It's a slow journey through different situations.

If I try to run without the music I can't do it. I can only kind of stumble along. I don't have anything telling my body it is time to move. I don't want to run. Not really. I rather hate how it feels some days.  But I don't have another way of seeing Jimmy. I don't really care if that is pathetic. I'm not magnanimous. I'm not sure that is a healthy reason. I need to see what Jimmy looks like. It won't be true, but I will reconstruct a memory for myself of my father. It will be the only picture I will have.

I've been watching more movies than usual and recently I heard the line, "You never stop needing your parents." As I was running part of the reason I was crying was because I realized how far ahead of me Jimmy will be. I realized he will probably leave the race grounds long before I finish. Unless I spot him in the vast zoo of five thousand people right before the race I don't really have a chance of seeing him. And I will spend that whole race hoping to see him at the finish line. I'm going to cry a lot. I kind of wonder why I do this to myself.

Why does every activity have to be viewed in the most self harming way possible? Why do I always have to have a tale of loss and woe? When will something I am doing be about something, anything other than grieving? My therapist, God bless her, heard that line and looked straight at me and told me that I will never stop grieving. When you were hurt like I was as a child you never stop feeling pain for very long. It feels like a cross between a harsh sentence and great comfort.

I don't perceive reality very well. I feel isolated and alone when I stand near people. The fact that people are apathetic towards me hurts my feelings because I feel constantly reminded of the apathy I experienced as a child. It caused me a lot of damage when I was a child. The fact that people are apathetic towards me makes me not want to stand physically close to them. Running through the crowd was occasionally terrifying. I don't like being near large crowds. I consider them dangerous and I'm not even sure why. I feel like I could all of a sudden have some need and people would run past and not care and I would feel devastated. The impending loss of trust feels overwhelming. Like if I fell and was injured. I feel like people wouldn't stop for me. I feel like this mass movement of uniformed lemmings all run in pursuit of a time goal and that is what they are there for and please get out of the way. It's not even slightly true. I look around at people and judge faces and there were a lot of people who looked like they would probably be the sort who stop. For someone else. Someone who deserved help. It's not that I think that other people are deficient in being willing to help good people. It's that I think I am the kind of person you step around on the side walk because of course this loser is on the ground again.

I don't know how to change this feeling that I am a terrible person who does not deserve any human compassion and people are going to know that and treat me accordingly. I don't know how to stop feeling dirty.

I'm glad I get to look forward to six months of running by myself. I need the time alone again to apologize to my knee for running according to trying to keep up with people. I wasn't listening properly and that was rude. We'll work it out. I need to figure out how to stop trying to run with anyone else. How do I have blinders on and ignore the people around me. I was seriously spooked by the crowd. I spent a lot of time looking at the spectators and feeling sad that I never saw people I knew. At least I won't have that distraction in Long Beach. I will be just running to the finish line. I know the spectators aren't for me and I can ignore them more comfortably.

I'm still not sure how to deal with pacing off of other people. That didn't work out. And I think I should look up what "interval training" is. People kept asking me about it. I don't understand why. Google is so cool. Hm. Five minutes on Google tells me I don't think I will ever answer those questions. That's not a kind of runner I want to be. Excellent!

I feel like I am feeling like I must run a fast marathon and I shouldn't have that as a goal. If it takes me six hours that is ok. If I seriously feel compelled to go too fast I will hurt myself. I've never run long distances before. I don't want to injure myself and prevent going to the race. That would be stupid. And I don't want to find out about how much help my fellow runners would be willing to provide if I injure myself at the race. Both of those sound like Bad Plans.

It's hard to actually stay on my pace but I need to learn how to do it. That is a lot of what I learned from this race. I am too distractible. I need to not feel hurt by the apathy around me. People aren't mean, they are concentrating. I should be concentrating too. I did start singing along by mile ten. People smiled at me. It's a lot of how I measure my running speed--how well I can sing along. I measure my heart and lung workload that way. I don't have a good silent method. I suppose I have six months to practice, if I want. Or I can just sing along and let people smile. It's not like I'm doing something terrible. I'm not singing loudly.

Time to stop whining and go inside.


  1. Tell me again why you running a marathon is the only way you will see Jimmy? What would happen if he could read this post? And congrats on finishing! I'm proud of you. Did you directly ask anyone to come support you? I didn't know any specifics about yesterday's half.

    1. Jimmy isn't ok with me publishing the book or, really, talking about what happened to me. He told me he isn't going to have anything to do with me. I don't plan to talk to Jimmy. I just want to see him. I don't think it is a good idea to try and stalk him at his home in Southern California in order to have the same effect.

      I spoke to people in person about it. Begging for attention on the internet starts to feel lame.

  2. Both of those sound like Bad Plans

    1. Didn't mean to post that. Annoying.