I'm not just talking about talent level. Obviously, they're above and beyond the rest of us in training and ability. That's why they're at the Olympics. For me, though, what stands out about Olympic runners is the fact that they run for other people. If an Olympic athlete loses a race, their entire country is disappointed. They're beholden to others in a way I can't possibly imagine.
And certainly a way that I haven't imagined for the last month and a half. Shortly after the Sunburst Marathon, I began to get lazy. Perhaps that isn't the right word. I began to get extremely busy, and sleep became a far more precious commodity for me. Between that and the insane pain in my foot, I haven't been running. Almost at all. Even my Sunday morning runs have, for the most part, fallen by the wayside. To put it bluntly, I'm out of shape.
Which is a problem, because eight weeks from yesterday is the Chicago Marathon, my absolute best chance to qualify for Boston, if I'm ready for it. And you know what? Thank God for that. Because without it, there is almost no chance that I would have gotten out of bed today for a four mile run.
It turns out I'm not as out of shape as I had feared. The probably has something to do with the fact that I've spent the last two months sword fighting and running around a stage for five hours at a time. I've been engaging muscles I had long since forgotten I had, but now it's time to get back to the ones I know best. It's time to be a runner again.
Yes, once again I'm recommitting myself. I know, it gets old. But so will I, and I want to be a runner when that happens. I've shaped my training schedule to an ambitious but doable eight week plan. In the next couple weeks, the following things will happen:
1) Set a sleep schedule. Stick to it.
2) Eat breakfast, and be healthier in general.
3) Sign up for the Austin Distance Challenge so that there's always a race to be ready for.
4) Run, dammit.
There are no gold medals waiting for me at my finish lines. No one will give me my country's flag to wrap around my shoulders. At the end of my runs, I hop in the shower and hope I stop sweating before I have to get my work clothes on. I'm beholden to myself, and no other.
And I'm loving every minute of it.