Did it! Or, the importance of getting lost
I am a marathoner. It feels so good to be able to say that. They say it will change you (it does), it is an emotionally charged event (it was) and that there's never a good time to do one anyway so you might as well start right now, where you are. So I did. And here we are. Thank you for sharing it with me!
The day was almost perfect in terms of weather; only the last few miles running into a strong wind gave a significant challenge. I fueled well (thank you, Fox Valley Marathon for your excellent course support), and several times was able to just stretch out and lose myself in the midst of some of the midwest's most beautiful scenery. I saw blue heron, snowy egrets, kayaks and canoes, and ran through some stunning wooded areas along the Fox River. This is one of the things people like best about the Fox Valley Marathon (plus, it's relatively flat). It was a "top ten" good day, and my finish time was under 5:30, which was my goal.
Out there, I "lost myself" in that positive sense we think of forgetting your troubles, being present where you are, just enjoying things as they come.
This week, I have felt like I am "losing myself" again, only this time it's in the other sense. The post-marathon week has been, for a variety of reasons, emotionally draining, exhausting, just plain hard. My sense of feeling unmoored this week is in stark contrast to the joy and exhilaration of losing myself in the woods on marathon Sunday. One felt like being a leaf floating on a river; the other like a pebble tossed by the waves.
In both cases I am at a loss for words to describe that "losing myself" feeling. But maybe that's the point. The universe is calling me to lose myself, in both senses of the word, for a while. It's unfamiliar territory.
So, go back to the main lessons I learned from this journey: when you're facing something like that, find some friends or a support network, start where you are, and persist. So that's what I'll do.