Clearly someone talked to that metaphorical person in the sky on my behalf because I actually have a lot of my friends from last year still lingering around. Every time I delve into hardcore marathon and obstacle course race training around this time, I dig out seven plots to bury thoughts of another friendship or family relationship that's gone to shit. Summer's still here so I shouldn't speak so soon.
In some strange way, I managed to hold onto three quarters of my marbles this year through peak training time. For people outside of the runner's community, this time of year is known as marathon training season. If you want to chop your significant other into sections of eight on the counter top and braise them at 275 degrees, I completely understand. Naturally, I'm not cosigning homicide but I can respect the thoughts while being incredibly nervous.
I pack my suitcase at least two weeks in advance just to check it four more times. Trust myself? Absolutely not. I can only imagine waking up on race day sporting mixed matched sneakers - both of which are my left foot - and praying to someone's Jesus that jeans and a crop top are suitable for a marathon.
The countdown is in full effect for my trip to the UTMB in Chamonix, France -- and I'm not running it. Although I will be a media correspondent courtesy of HOKA One One (pronounced Hok-Ah O-Nay O-Nay), I will be taking advantage of the views, inclines and hiking before work. When returning back to the states, I will unload my suitcase for a day simply to do it over again close to seven or eight times over the next several months. The remainder of my out of state travels are dedicated to marathons, ultra marathons, obstacle course races and of course, an Ironman 70.3 thrown in the mix. Although it sounds glamorous, it can be taxing to remember the simplest of things. The last thing that I desire is to make it to another state and freak out about buying new shoes and wardrobe for race day because it's sitting back in NYC -- assuming that I can actually afford it.
At some point, you have to ask yourself if you're doing this for you or for everyone else -- and honestly, there's no shame in either response. The key is to not allow your goals to consume you into such a dark hole that you cannot see beyond the moment. There's life before, during and after these events. If your sole reason for participating in a race is to send out the biggest middle finger to the fucker in aisle three for taunting you about your weight, then that's cool; but after it's done, what's next? Even my Petty LaBelle ass cannot run strictly on arrogance and egotistical moments.
A month has flown by and my training is pretty intense. My schedule is loaded with three to four gym days, back to back long runs over the weekend, cycling when the weather is cooperative and of course, shitty swimming practices. Quite recently, I announced on The Long Run podcast that I'd be doing my first triathlon -- Ironman 70.3 Arizona; the feedback was a mixed bag of M&Ms. And since my really fun interview with SELF Magazine - The Weight Issue, the hecklers, concerned trolls and all people in between gave me a congenital heart failure load of unsolicited advice, horrible feedback and projected fears. For the average person, this might make you want to lose your shit. Extreme personalities like mine view moments like this as a make or break to their day; I had my share of both.
Latoya Shauntay Snell
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