Bag Lady

Bag lady, you gon' hurt your back
Draggin' all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold onto
Is you, is you, is you
One day, all them bags gon' get in your way
One day, all them bags gon' get in your way
I said
One day, all them bags gon' get in your way
One day, all them bags gon' get in your way
Pack light . . .
(Erykah Badu, Bag Lady)

There's something to be said for packing light.    (Of course, I doubt Erykah Badu was thinking about marathon racing when she recorded the song.)  There's less to worry about.  There's less chafing.  There's less to lose. 

I've always hated carrying and wearing a lot of junk; that's why I dress so light for races with 28-degree weather.  But nutrition and health supplies were a different story. I needed a pack of chews per hour, ibuprofen, my inhaler, an armband with my cell phone.  At the beginning of a race, it was always a struggle to find a place to stick the bags of chews so they wouldn't bounce uproariously across my back and ass.  I almost felt like I had to wear a second bra for my bouncing back-boobs. 

Another line in the Badu song says, "bag lady, you gon' miss your bus. You can't hurrry up - 'cause you got too much stuff.

And that's one of the reasons that things are a lot different this time.  I want to go faster.  I want to learn how to really race a marathon.

So this is going to be the lightest I've ever traveled on marathon day.  I may leave my inhaler in my emergency bag with the B, because the highs that day are in the 70's, and I'm not likely to have an attack.  I don't need many chews because I've been training on Cytomax, water, and salt pills (Cytomax is on the course, and I never even used a full pack of chews on an 18-mile run).  And I am debating leaving my phone behind, as well.

But the biggest benefit of training like this has nothing to do with speed.  Almost every time I've gone out to run the last few weeks, I have felt so . . .well . . . free.  I want to feel that way all marathon long.

Unlike racing, I am actually comfortable padding my days with more STUFF.   More to do, more to say, more to wear, more to think, more to feel, more to eat. 

Oh, crap - I am just like the girl Badu wrote that song about.
This got me thinking: how free would I feel if I could learn to pack light?  To enjoy everything else in my life the way I enjoy running, riding, and swimming - just for what it is?  to be completely involved in the moment - the sun (or rain), the wind, the sky, the ground, the feeling of the keys under my fingers or the fan on my back - how free would that feel?

I have been completely saturated with the stress of all the different duties I've adopted lately as grad school approaches.  It has made me feel overwhelmed and insecure at times.  I have to force myself to remember that it's all what I want to do.  But the frustration and fear that I won't - or can't - do it still creeps in from time to time.

"Girl, I know
sometimes it's hard ,and you can't let go . . ."

The point of Badu's song is simple and obvious: carrying around all your old crap keeps you from moving forward.  I can do that in a marathon, and gladly, to endure 26.2 miles of discomfort - with a smile.  It's time to do it in my real life, too.

So here's to moving forward. 

Here's to packing light.

1 tidbits of wizdom:

Wes said...

you're going to need 2-4 hundred calories an hour during your marathon. how you take that in is totally your call.

You've always been a giver, MAJ, a fighter, a survivor. Make your choices and run with them. There's a lot to be said for setting your spirit free.