One of my relatives and I are training for a marathon. I found a training plan and we’re adapting it slightly so race day falls on the very date a small marathon is being planned on my people’s homeland (with Covid precautions in place). I did that race the very first year it was held, 20 years ago. The race and I have both changed since.
I haven’t done a race since Covid time began. My last marathon was almost two years ago now. I’ve completed many marathons, but I’ve never had a great race at a marathon. My problems vary. Sometimes I’m undertrained. Sometimes–usually–I go out too fast at the beginning, full of hope and excitement and feeling good and well-rested, as training always eases up before a long race. “This pace feels good! Maybe today I’ll have my best race ever!” My flawed logic goes, as I’m swept up with a pace group too fast for me. And then there I am, miserable and paying the price later in the race.
In those long races, pacing is so important. It is perhaps the most important, along with preparation and proper hydration and nutrition. Prep, pace, water, food. It sounds simple. And in many ways it is–to take the time, effort, and thoughtfulness to really nurture oneself. Other factors: wearing shoes and clothes that help you feel good on race day, although this is really part of prep–that you’ve practiced running on different terrain and in varying weather so you have the experience to know what works best when race day rolls around and it’s freezing cold, or pouring rain, or blazing sun. Or perhaps all three happening on the same morning, Mother Nature keeping you on your toes.
So, we’ll see. I hope to show up at the starting line with my relative. I hope this time I’ll be focused in how I manage prep, pacing, water, food. And most of all I hope, like 20 years ago, to take time during the long race to savor the beauty of my Yakama homeland, and that each step is a blessing and a prayer on our Tiichám, with the beautiful awareness of my ancestors watching over us.
Like marathon running, academic writing takes prep, pacing, and nurturing. The Auntie Way Writing Retreat will help you with this! Registration ends Friday.