It's funny, I've had more than one person over the last few months tell me they appreciate me being so honest and full of candor about my experience with training for and running the Portland Marathon. I especially got a lot of that after posting my marathon recap and the Q&A yesterday. A few times in person, and lots of times via blog comments. I get the sense that these people aren't getting the real scoop on running from other sources and are somewhat relieved to hear my crazy stories.
I come from pretty honest stock. My grandmother (dad's side) was brutally honest and hilariously sarcastic. She also taught me everything I know about using curse words to their full potential. I just absolutely worshiped her and miss her every single day that I am awake. My Oregon aunt (also dad's side) who is more like my sister and BFF also is bluntly honest to a fault and also has a fantastically sarcastic wit. My mom's side of the family also pulls no punches. Maybe it's a being from the country thing, we just all kind of tell it like it is.
I don't think anyone wins when they are spoon fed a sugar coated reality, especially when the stakes are high. It would be a horrible disservice to say that training for this race was all unicorns and rainbows, because when someone reads that, trains for their race and has those bad training days they'll say to themselves, "I must be doing something wrong, because Mary had a great time training." I think keeping it real allows people to prepare themselves for what could happen. Running seems like such an elegant sport sometimes doesn't it, especially when you see those lanky gazelle people in their tiny running shorts. They always make it look so effortless too. Except, I'm friends with a couple of the weird gazelle people, and they face the same running woes us chubby mortals do. They also go through the same cramps, injuries, horrible runs, chafing and near pants crapping.
Doesn't it make you feel better that the gazelle people also experience these issues? Doesn't it make you feel more normal? Exactly. And that right there is why I'm honest. Knowing that some of these struggles are normal and come with the territory when it comes to running lets you prepare. It lets you educate yourself on what to do to combat the struggles, be they emotional or physical. It gives you the ability to commiserate with other runners.
I hope my honesty doesn't scare people away from running or marathoning. Just because something comes with struggles doesn't mean it's not worth doing. It's kind of like owning a certain black greyhound. Your couch may get taken over, you may have to pay $200 to an emergency vet when she eats an entire onion she stole out of the pantry, and she may leave revenge piss puddles on your carpet if she's PO'd that you've been gone too long. But at the end of the day when she makes you laugh by doing something derpy and ridiculous, or sweetly puts her head in your lap to be scratched it's all worth the aggravation. Not that I am talking about a specific black greyhound. No, never....