Marathon Training: Not changing my mind

There! It’s out there. The idea of not doing this year’s NYC Marathon is quite attractive right about now. I can hear the refrain, why do something if you don’t want to do it? It’s just not that simple. My tendency is to take on long projects. Writing, needlepoint and running are my favorite pastimes. There is a joy in a poem, a cross-stitched book mark and a 5K. The mistake, for me, is to believe that those things don’t need as much attention and craft involvement as the novel, the wall hanging and the marathon. They do. It’s the timing that’s different.

Years ago, I stood on the sidelines on Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. The challenge of training for the marathon eluded me. Why did I think that Sunday was such a special day? It was, of course. But there were a lot of special days that led up to that brisk morning I hadn’t been privy to. I hadn’t been around for the Saturday that a young wife tied up her laces for a long training run as her husband took the kids to the zoo. The evenings the fifty year old guy spent snoring in front of the television, instead of having lively conversation with his partner, went unnoticed by me as I sipped hot chocolate.  I didn’t realize that in addition to the running, there was the stretching, the muscle strengthening sessions and the speed and hill training. Eating right, sleeping right and maintaining decent communication with family, friends and co-workers are other fine attunements needed during marathon training. It’s a challenge.

The biggest challenge is the tiredness I feel during the long runs. I eat the right carbo-protein-fat mix. I sleep the nights before my long runs but at mile 18 my body says “No Mas.” Roberto Duran, the boxer, made that phrase famous in 1980 when he walked away from Sugar Ray Leonard. Lots of explanation, lots of theory around this statement but when enough is enough, it’s enough. I gather as much information on “The Wall” and how to get around it as I possibly can.

I’m set for a twenty two miler in the morning. As I eat my energy gels and put one foot in front of the other tomorrow, I will try to not to say ”No mas.” I made the decision to take on this personal challenge. The NYC Marathon experience beckons me. I’m planning on going forward and not changing my mind.


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