Bending the Rules

I’m not the most flexible woman in the world.

Hello, understatement of the century.

Let me rephrase. I’m probably the least flexible woman in the world when you really break it down. The last time I touched my toes, Balki Bartokomous was still on primetime. My range of movement caps out at the Cha Cha Slide. At yoga, my downward dog looks about as comfortable as Keira in a straw hat.

Fact: I wear the same hat to yoga.
Fact: I wear the same hat to yoga.

With long legs, short muscles and joints that surely have the consistency of cement, I have never had an ounce of flexibility in my body.

Which is why I’ve been extra proud of my marathon training so far this fall: in terms of flexibility, it’s been downright elastic. (I realize bodily flexibility and scheduling flexibility aren’t the same thing, but let’s just go with it for the sake of this post. Cool? Cool.)

In past marathon training cycles, I followed prescribed workouts to a T, afraid to reorder my scheduled workouts for fear I wouldn’t reach my 26.2-mile goal. But with two races that distance now under my belt, I trust myself to get flexible with my training and still cross that finish line. And good thing, too: in terms of scheduling, this fall has been a bonafide obstacle course.

I knew going into autumn that my schedule was going to be busy, with several planned weekends away and at least one Yorkville dog costume parade already on my calendar. (You’re welcome.)

But as that has spiraled into literally four weddings and a funeral (I don’t appreciate the reference, Richard Curtis), I’ve had to juggle my scheduled workouts more than ever before. From moving long runs to weekdays to logging miles at lunchtime to splitting workouts into pre- and post-work halves, I’ve been more creative than ever with my marathon scheduling this time around — and I’m so glad of it.

Why, you ask? Because instead of running a 12-miler scheduled for the last Saturday of September, I attended a gorgeous wedding in Upstate New York that culminated in me belting Little Mermaid lyrics on a school bus home (i.e. “the usual”). And because instead of running an 18-miler last Friday, I was able to sit back and toast a special woman with a martini she would have loved. And because instead of running a 15-miler this weekend, I’ll be watching my friend Fran walk down the aisle and then toasting my newly engaged brother and his fiancé during a weekend home in Baltimore.

Guess which of these ladies he's marrying. Nope, guess again.
Guess which of these ladies he’s marrying. Nope, guess again.

It’s not that I’m not doing the runs — I’m just doing them in my own order, when convenient, and not letting them get in the way of the things that matter even more than crossing that finish line in less than 4 hours. Sure, I’d love to clock another 3:50-something time come Nov. 23. But even more so, I’d like to finish these 20 weeks of training not feeling like I’ve missed out on my life.

So far so good.

How flexible are you in your marathon training?


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