I’m currently staring down the 2018 edition of the Cayman Islands Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay, and I’m on the verge of upgrading my registration to the full marathon. I’m doing ‘it’ again – ‘it’ being the whole ‘signing up for a marathon the week of the event with not really having trained for/factoring in this distance in my over all running schedule’. *Sigh* I apparently just can’t stop myself from running a race if it is put in front of me. What is wrong with me??
After nine years of living here, and three of these early December race weekends passing since I’ve started running marathons, I have yet to tackle the full 26.2 in the Cayman Islands; I have, however, run the half four times. There are a few reasons why the half has been my preferred distance in Cayman: it’s always hot on island, this is a 2-loop course for the full marathon, I’m usually coming off a race a few weekends before this event, my husband’s company’s Christmas party is the night before the race, and in all honesty, it’s really, really nice to be finished with a half marathon around 7am and cracking the first beer around shortly thereafter (the race starts at 5am to take advantage of cooler temps before the sun rises).
But for some reason, I’m leaning towards the full this year. Yes, I just came off the Philadelphia Marathon two weeks ago, and temps look to be warm and full sun on race day, according to my weather app (warm = 95+ real feel with 70-80% humidity). I am under no illusion how difficult it will be to run past the finish line after one loop, when more than 80% of the runners will be heading in and getting their medals, massages and beer; I’ve done looped courses in both Bermuda and Bungay and it is a test of your mental strength to continue on when others are jubilantly skipping across the finish line.
So what on earth is possessing me to push for another marathon finish line?
I do enjoy the distance and the challenge it presents. However, that is not it this time around, if I am honest with myself. A huge reason I’m leaning toward running this full is that I’m feeling lost and purposeless after the death of my mom in early October. For almost a whole year, my purpose was to help her through her cancer journey. I spent so much time travelling back and forth to visit her, talking to doctors, reading about treatment options, understanding clinical trials, managing appointments, helping with financial concerns – assisting in every way I possibly could. All of a sudden, that stopped and I find myself feeling aimless at the moment. Running for 4 1/2 – 5 hrs on Sunday seems like a good way to fill a bunch of time.
Maybe there is a little truth to the idea that I want to push myself to feel the pain that comes with running that distance. Because in spite of everything I did or tried to do, I couldn’t save her from the eventual end that came so much more quickly than I was ready. I think I feel like this is something of penance for not being able to get her a better prognosis. I know, I know: if the best oncologists in the world can’t cure this disease, I certainly couldn’t. But there is something inside of me that wonders if there was something I missed or something that would have helped if I had only done it a day or a week earlier. Yes, I think penance is a good word for what I am trying to describe, even if I know I did everything I could and nothing else I could have done would have changed the overall outcome. I just need to grieve all of this in my own way, and I think this helps me to work through things.
Aside from all that, I know that I wan to run this race one day – the full, that is. This would be my 7th country where I’ve run a marathon, which is fun to ‘collect’ countries and states, seeing how much you travel for races. It is also a small field (102 runners total for the marathon distance as of four days prior to the race), an experience that I really enjoy from my races, and I may actually have a chance at placing in my age group. (Although, if my experience in Bermuda is anything to go by, my age group is stacked and I’ll probably still come in 9th or 10th.) I also think that the fact my next marathon is not scheduled until March 10, 2019, means that I would be going almost four months between marathons, and I think I’ll miss it. Why not add another one in the mix?
So since it is the hometown race, I think I’ll be bellying up to the marathon registration table at packet pick up and going for marathon #26.