As a child, every December 1 was an exciting day. Not because it’s National Eat a Red Apple Day, but because it meant only twenty-four more days until Christmas. We hung up the advent calendar and excitedly marked off each day as December 25 approached. The anticipation peaked on Christmas Eve when, after looking at lights and placing the presents under the tree, we were shooed off to bed by our parents.
Not allowed to get out of bed until 7:00 AM (an ungodly hour for a small child on all other 364 days of the year), I would toss and turn as I dreamt of Foosball tables, Lincoln logs, and all other happiness only brought about by ripping open crisply-wrapped boxes and bags.
When all was finally said and done on Christmas Day, presents unwrapped, ham dinner eaten, and off to bed again, a not-so-small sadness would always settle in my little heart. I’d been anticipating this day for so long, but now, the morning after Christmas, I had to wait another 364 days for the next Christmas. A real bummer for a kid.
Now, after finishing my first marathon, I feel like a kid on December 26. For the past five months, I’ve been training for this one day. Waking up early, logging miles, and monitoring my eating has consumed my time. Running became my constant companion.
Taking a week off to recover will allow my body to rebuild itself after such a grueling physical test. But anything longer than a week will begin to take a toll on my mind.
As a runner, I get to choose when “Christmas” happens. And it’s not something that only happens once a year. After taking a week off, you’ll find me pounding the pavement again.
Just anticipating the next present I’ll unwrap.