I tried to run my first half marathon last week. I made it just shy of 12 miles (out of 13.1). I had just made it to the top of a very long hill. I paused, and realized my body couldn’t make it another step. I lost. I had been losing the whole time. From the start I realized everyone’s pace was faster to mine. Then, at 8 km, an intestinal torment required a detour in the course. Not to mention the nausea and 3rd-to-last place positioning that caused doubts and questions and exhaustion for the following 11km. I have enough blog fodder from just those two hours that I no longer have an excuse not to have a post every week (of course material has never really been the issue). In fact, I think, minus some book reviews, the next month or so will be just that. And why on earth would I write again and again about such a humiliating experience? In truth, I am partly inspired by Pat Conroy’s autobiography, My Losing Season. I read it a while back and wrote a brief report on it for work. Here is an excerpt:
“Conroy is sharing the lesson one can glean from those gut-wrenching times in life when we cannot win, despite our grandest effort or most desperate plea to the muses that control our fortunes…[It] explicitly conveys the importance of recognizing the impact loss can make in your life. Dealing with pain is allowing the furnace to reshape you, take out impurities and make you into something that is unique and beautiful.”
Americans are a society of winners. We hail the champion, the underdog who made it, and I love that about our culture. I love that we are optimists and happy-ending addicts. But there has to be space for our “losing seasons”, and without sounding whiny, this is mine. Not just the race – the learning curve of the past months has kicked my butt, and I am putting along in last place here with doubts and questions and exhaustion. And so I will write because that is a way of working things out. And it’s funny and sad and hard, but so is every story…any one worth reading at least…So if you will bear with me I’m fairly certain this ends very well though that can hardly be seen now (but it will-one day it will).