Sunday, November 23, 2008

Marathon Day

The Philadelphia Marathon is today. And I woke up at 5:00 in the morning, just like many marathoners, whose anticipation, excitement and anxiety kept them from sleeping.

Which would make sense if I were running today. But I'm not.

I trained for the Marathon. I logged training runs of 15 and 17 miles. But I kept putting off registering - I was pretty sure I was going to run, fairly certain I would be ready, but what was the harm in waiting? After all, I had run the Broad Street Run (10 miles) and the Philadelphia Distance Run (a half-marathon) this year, and both times I had signed up at the Expo the day before. That way, I could check out the conditions - after all, I wasn't one of those running nuts who would slush through 13 miles in a downpour.

Then, about three weeks ago, Keri told me that she had heard from a friend that the Philly Marathon was closed. They weren't accepting any new registrants.

I couldn't believe it, but it was true. Apparently, there are a lot more people in town who can run 26.2 miles than I had ever assumed. So, no marathon for me.

It serves me right. I've noticed this tendency in myself before - to have an idea, a plan, but not to commit to it fully. I always like to leave myself a back door. I could very easily have had a tubal ligation when the twins were delivered by C-section, for example, but I chose not to. I mean, five kids is more than enough by anyone's standards, and I honestly have no desire to have any more (and would probably have a heart attack if I somehow found myself pregnant, like what happened to Keri) - but I guess what it comes down to is that I don't trust myself not to change my mind.

Which is a shame, because I can't help but feel my life would improve enormously if I could throw myself into projects with reckless abandon. Instead of working in dribs and drabs on the novel revision that my agent has been waiting on for the better part of the last two years, what if I had stayed up all hours of the night, or gotten up at 4:30 in the morning on the days Andy went to work early? What if I hadn't spent so much time surfing the net or playing games on the computer or even blogging for Strollerderby (which I just recently gave up, recognizing it as the time-sucker it was, instead of the paying, identity-affirming, writing gig I liked to think of it as)? What if I had been able to eat healthily on a consistent basis, instead of constantly undermining myself by eating four bowls of Andy's homemade oreo ice cream? What if I had set aside the time every night to help Erika with her math and help Hilary practice her reading? Maybe by now, Hilary would be able to read to herself instead of just being able to read out loud - a mysterious gap in her skills I can't really explain.

On the one hand, I understand that kind of intensity is not really part of my personality, and in fact runs counter to the laid-back, flexible attitude that keeps me sane amidst all the chaos of my life right now.

But on the other hand, there's no reason I can't turn up the heat a little bit. So, there's my New Year's resolution, a month early: sustained commitment. My buzz words for 2009.


thepicklednickel said...

I completely get the "maybe I'll change my mind" and "I better leave myself an out" mentality. I just yesterday had a discussion with my father about their house number. He wants to put it up with liquid nails and my brother thinks he should drill holes and use decorative bolts. I agree with my brother, because, what if he wants to change it someday? Or what if the next people who buy the house want to change it? Does he know what a mess liquid nails on brick is going to be? Why I care about HIS house and HIS house number, I don't know (and especially why I'm concerned about the NEXT people who live in the house), but I just can't help but think, why not leave yourself a backdoor??

Anonymous said...

There is a rumor that the two families are living separately now! is it true!

Amy said...

No, it's not true, although I have to wonder who would start such a rumor! I would think that anyone who knows us well enough to talk about us with someone else who knows us, would know we are still living together.

Unless the instigator is deliberately trying to make trouble. Mom, do you have too much time on your hands?