I’m No Longer Going For The Plaque With The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

September 22, 2017

I *am* of course still doing Project 882. I will finish those miles before the end of the year. That is not changing.

But a sub-goal of that was that I was trying to get this plaque thing with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series. in order to get it you have to do the most races of anyone that year (or you have to tie with that person (or those people)).

It basically means that you have to do every single possible race in a year (because every year at least one person does “all of them”). I put all of them in quotes because it’s impossible to do all of them, as some are held in different cities at the same time – but all possible ones.

I was on track thus far this year. I’ve been to Europe 3 times. I did the Tex-2-Mex two countries, two races, one day. I was pretty excited to go for this plaque…

But, alas, I think it’s time to bow out of the running.

I was supposed to do the Rock ‘n’ Roll Montreal half marathon this weekend. The time limit was going to be 3 hours and 45 minutes. I’ve been doing most of my half marathons this year somewhere around 4-ish hours (many longer than that). And on a 3:45 time limit (from when the last person crosses the start), there’s a little buffer for you (as long as you’re not in the literal very back). So, I should’ve been able to do about a 4-hour half and call it a day. (Also, there was a full marathon concurrently. So the finish line would be open for about 6 hours anyway.) Also, I’ve done I think at least a couple halves around 3:45ish, so that in itself is not impossible for me right now, I don’t think.

But because of a hot and humid weather forecast, the full marathon was canceled and the half marathon time limit is down to 3 hours. (My understanding is they don’t want people in the sun past 11am.) Even if I have a little buffer, 3:30 is the longest it’s gonna be able to take me. I understand that 3:30 is a slow half marathon time that isn’t a lot to ask of someone… But, as we all know, I was really depressed for much of the last year and a half. I’m only kinda just now really better. And I have been holed up in my apartment a lot and not working out so much. So, I gained weight and lost and fitness. And as sad and embarrassing as it is to say, I don’t really have a 3:30 half in me right now.

I also talked about how during recovery I felt this very intense apathy. But now that apathy is diminishing, because I’m getting my brain back and I’m getting me back. And I’m thinking about how I had to take sort of a version of the Rock ‘n’ Roll shuttle for a small bit in Mexico City. And I know we argued back then, “Well, they dropped us off farther than they said they would and you just did that mile before the race,” but that’s working kind of hard to justify that I had to take the little motorcycle dude for part of it.

And we can argue that that’s technically “within the official rules of Rock ‘n’ Roll races,” but is it within my moral rules? My brain, and moral compass, and internal fire is all coming back as I start to feel like I’m being re-put together as a person again, and the picture is almost complete.

In Canada, they also might let you take the shuttle. (There’s some back and forth on whether the shuttle nudges you forward or ends your race.) Or they might divert you but still let you finish. But is that what I want this year to be? Do I want to see that plaque hung across from my bed and think about diversion and shuttles and not really being able to accomplish something? Do I want to just stare at the “excuses” plaque?

[I think of the time I volunteered for something with the Mayor’s Corps in Los Angeles. And they ended up not needing me. I walked basically across the street and signed in, and they were like, “actually we’re overflowing. You can go home.” But because I had signed up and showed up, I got this amazing huge beautiful certificate from the Mayor for my “work” that day. It was gorgeous and I would’ve loved to have displayed this gorgeous praise from the Mayor, but ultimately, I threw it away because while it’s nice decoration, there’s not a real story there to me. I don’t think it would’ve been out of line for someone to keep theirs in my situation. They definitely could argue that they did volunteer and they showed up as they said they would. And they blocked out their day. And they’re being thanked for doing that. But I didn’t want to hang up something just for showing up and walking away.]

And I’m not taking a strong stance on that story specifically. I don’t think it was some morally beautiful thing to do. I was just thinking of that as an example of a time when I got a nice thing I didn’t really feel I earned, so I threw it away. And if i keep going for this plaque in a year where I’m only even sort of making it by the skin of my teeth, how good am I gonna feel about that? Not good.

In addition to that, in order to get this plaque, you almost certainly have to do this China to LA thing. And I was so proud that after hours of research, I found the flight that should work to get to LA with plenty of time to do the race. I was working on getting my visa to go to China. I was ready for this super awesome exciting feat!

But. I’m just about to start a new job – a job that only goes for 8 weeks! It’s pretty hard to take a vacation during a job that’s only 8 weeks long. I miiiight be able to convince them to give my just that Friday (as they already said 3 days would be too much to take, as we talked about potential conflicts during my interview). But even that would be hard and I feel like it’d be annoying for them. And also, what? I’m gonna go all the way to China for about 13-ish hours just to do a race and leave? I’d be on the plane longer (each way!) than I’d be actually in China.

So, because of all that, I think it’s very sadly time to give up chasing the plaque. It was fun. It was good while it lasted. But it just doesn’t feel good to chase it anymore.

I’m grateful for what the chase has given me… After being sexually assaulted (which is what was so hard about my last year and a half or so), I reeeeally struggled with whether to stay in New York or leave, so I did a half stay. I “stayed” and worked here. But I escaped every weekend. And I think that was ultimately the right choice. I didn’t feel good or safe or happy being here all the time and I needed to escape. But I’m glad I kept roots here, because it is the dream and I don’t know if I would’ve come back otherwise. So, going for the plaque was a great road map in how to escape on many weekends. It gave me places to go. I went to Europe for the first time!

It was really nice that as my world started to feel so much tinier as it started to feel like I lived inside this glass box, unable to feel anything or touch anybody, my world at the same time was expanding. I had no idea it was so easy to travel to Europe! It feels so exotic, but time-zone wise and travel-time wise, it’s similar to just going to Los Angeles. So, the world became more accessible to me this year – at a time when I needed it most.

So, I appreciate the journey. And the journey to the 882 miles will indeed continue on. But the journey to the plaque is coming to a close. There were 6 of us in the running. So, I wish the best of the luck to the final five!

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?