This year I trained well but I just didn’t have it on race day and the weather was cold and damp. For the first six miles, I didn’t want to be running. 26 miles seemed very intimidating and I had no passion for what I was doing. Then I saw Rebecca cheering at mile 7 and for the first time all day, actually conceived of finishing. I saw her again at the half marathon point and got another charge.
However, once I hit mile 20, things started going downhill in a hurry. I started getting cold and the inevitable quad soreness and calf cramps began. I held it together mentally for awhile but at mile 22, I walked for 20 seconds and assumed I would do yet another 5 mile death walk, and
the attendant tales of woe. I started to play the “run a minute walk 10 second” game which never works. Except that I ran for a few minutes and started to get pissed, thinking why the hell should cramps defeat me? I was staring a mental test in the face and finally realized that this is what a marathon is about. It’s not about training so well that you avoid the wall. It’s about what happens to you when you hit the wall. All of a sudden I felt the best I had all day. The cramps and fatigue didn’t disappear. I still felt like crap, but it didn’t matter. I was in the moment and it was not going to defeat me yet again. I didn’t finish strong but I did finish proud and pumped. It was the breakthrough I have always wanted. The 3 hours 33 minutes and 24 seconds I raced were transformative.
So there is no post race retirement. I am in. Bring on the last four miles of NYC in Central Park, or the Ironman. Because my mind is finally catching up with my body.