people have been asking me lots of questions lately.
interested person: how do you feel?
laura: like i’m going to vom.
laura: LIKE I’M GOING TO VOM FROM HAPPINESS AND EXCITEMENT, THAT IS!
and it’s true. as marathon monday creeps ever closer, i do indeed feel like i am going to vom from happiness and excitement. it’s a lot like a wedding, i think: you spend MONTHS of your life fixating on this one day, and then suddenly, that day is near, and you’re anxious and excited and nervous nervous nervous. and, in my case, also ready to vomit.
but the good news is that i didn’t vom on my wedding day, and so deductive reasoning makes me believe that maybe i won’t vom on marathon monday, either. (please please please bvm don’t let me vom.)
i am feeling pretty ready physically. this weekend, i ran the final 9 miles of the marathon course with my running group, and conquered heartbreak for the third time. (with no tears at all!) it’s clear that all of the tapering has done its job– we were pawing at the ground like anxious ponies, waiting to be let loose, and we were FLYING during those nine miles! i am feeling pretty injury-free (please please please bvm, let me remain injury-free!), except for the stupid time i was racing down the subway stairs last week in my flipflops, and stubbed my big toe, causing my toe to bleed and my head to implode. (luckily, it was a minor wound and i am completely fine.) so i feel GREAT physically.
but mentally, i am a wreck. i’ve had nightmares aplenty: a few days ago, i dreamed that was running to the starting line, which was in the subway, for some reason. i was late, and then these big white garage doors shut, and i couldn’t get into the marathon. so i started to cry. then, my friend the worm appeared and gave me cheerios, and suddenly everything was better. i have also had rollercoaster emotions and tears at home and work, and i think that my anxiety is rubbing off on the bp. he’s even had his own marathon nightmares! (poor panda bear dreamed that i forced him to sleep in a pup tent in our (non-existent) backyard the night before the marathon because he’d been tossing and turning all night. i am, apparently, an evil banshee in the panda’s dreams.)
like many people in my life, the baby panda has been just glorious during my moodiness. he has carefully shopped for the foods that i will need to eat this week to make sure that my stomach doesn’t get upset, and, well, it’s clear that he’s concerned about my sleep. my parents are prepping for their big trip up to boston to watch the race, and my mom has been designing special “lintzy on the loose” tee shirts and acquiring cowbells for the big day. my little sister is skipping her first day of law school EVER in order to cheer me on. and many others have been giving me a lot of interesting advice and pep talks, which i have been eating up just as ravenously as the peanut butter sandwiches that my nutritionist has recommended. i feel really lucky.
one of my best pieces of inspiration so far has come from a lady that they call the velvet hammer. the vh and i have worked together for almost three years, but for a long time, i was pretty intimidated by her because i had heard through the grapevine that she had done an ironman. yes, an ironman! just thinking about the scope of that race makes my head explode. according to wikipedia, which i had to use because my head is literally all psssssf as soon as i think about it, “an ironman triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a marathon run, raced in that order and without a break.”
um, what. i have been busting my booty for over four months, and i haven’t even prepped for even HALF of that. and yet, here is this lady, who walks around like it’s no big deal that she is basically superhuman.
i am sure you can see why i was intimidated.
but, over time, i realized that the velvet hammer is just delightful, and despite her uber-ferocious nickname, she is really the personification of a cadbury creme egg with its internal sugary goodness. throughout my marathon training, she’s been an incredible resource: prepping me for the mental strains of a long workout, telling me that i am not insane, and reenacting scenes from “the devil wears prada” with uncanny mastery. but last week, the velvet hammer went above and beyond, and gave me her ironman scrapbook and journal to peruse. this was basically the coolest thing i have ever seen– pages and pages of amazing athleticism. i felt like i was handling a gutenberg bible or something.
one picture was especially striking– it was a pic of the vh, after completing the whole ironman, head thrown back in laughter. as soon as she saw me looking at it, she explained that this picture was her favorite in all the world, because in it, she was her best self.
um, what. (again.) i had no idea what the eff that meant, which the vh must have intuited, because she went on to explain that, at that moment when the photograph was taken, she was everything that she had ever wanted to be: a joyful, confident, triumphant athlete.
at that moment, i asked myself an important question: why do i run? or even more importantly, why am i running the boston marathon? why have i forsaken a social life for the past four months, and why have i become fodder for my husband’s nightmares? i know why i started running– to have better blood sugars. however, i have learned that running, especially marathon running, is not always a recipe for diabetes success. so why do i run?
as i sat there, mulling these questions and coming up with doodly-squat for an answer, my telephone rang. and suddenly, within about four seconds, i knew three things:
1. i know exactly why i run.
2. i am, to quote my sister, a bobo for not having realized this immediately.
3. the velvet hammer is a genius.
as my phone started blowing up, i sat for a second and listened to my ringtone. it is this:
yes, that’s right. the friday night lights theme song. for those of you who are not quite the television junkie that i am, i will explain. friday night lights is a super dramatic, feel-good, emotionally-charged portrayal of the dillon panthers, a high school football team in dillon, texas. in the baby panda’s words, friday night lights is a ladies’ show in men’s clothing– i am guessing mainly because of all the gratuitous shirtless scenes of tim riggins (sigh).
anyhoo, i love this show. many many episodes have brought me to tears, and i often picture myself as running’s matt saracen, the overlooked backup quarterback who, if given the chance, will seize greatness and lead my team to STATE. and then i started thinking some more. suddenly, this “best self” idea started to make a lot more sense.
in one week, i will have the opportunity to do something absolutely amazing. something i have been dreaming about since that day in april 2002 when i volunteered at the finish line for the first time. a dream that i thought had been derailed after the diabetes shocker of 2005. and as i make that magical right on hereford, and left on boylston, i will be the laura lintz that i have been working to be for the first thirty years of my life: a hard worker who has put in the time, and triumphed against the odds.
this next week is going to be an an anxious one for me. i still have seven days (170 hours) until this race actually starts. but i am going to try my best to embody my best self during this time, and approach the day with clarity and happiness. and i think i’ll watch this clip about 1,000 times between now and then, because coach taylor says it best.
clear eyes, full hearts, CAN’T LOSE.
the glory of their times, by lawrence ritter
i found this book in the gates, ny public library the summer after seventh grade, and have read it every single summer since then. an amazing portrayal young america and the sport at its core, and as inspirational as a velveteen hammer.
to follow me on race day (4.19.10, aka next monday), please go to this website:
you can sign up for text alerts, or follow my progress online. to do so, you’ll need my bib number, which is the low-low number of 23012.