Like a hitchhiker holding a sign, “Boston or Bust,” I’m focused on my destination. Twenty-two days to go until I’m standing in coral 6 of wave 3, at the start of the Boston Marathon. Training’s on schedule (after a slight hip glitch), but my stamina waffles from superhero: able to outrun a sub-3-hour marathoner, to an old lady: running gingerly hoping not to hurt myself.
Today’s run is solid. I finish a strong 32.5 kms. Drenched and stiff, I walk the last .5 km and make it home with enough energy to do another 10.2 kms.
I am at the point where my mind and body are syncing into a state of strength and invincibility, which is the best part of marathon training. But I had to go through the 3 stages of training.
The 3 Stages of Marathon Training
First Stage: full of excitement and possibility. Second Stage: distances longer but doable, and still feel cocky. Third Stage: I hate running and I swear I will never train for a marathon again (this is the 8th time I’ve said that).
The hate comes during the first long run of 29 kms that drains my body energy to the point that post-run my mind is fuzzy and when I sit on the couch, I feel as if I may never get up. But this strange activity of running (for a ridiculously long distance) is a life focusing experience. Time changes in the middle of a long run. If time could stop, I would say it’s when I know I’m moving but I seem to forget for how long – I only know that my legs are carrying me forward. That’s all that exists.
After today’s 32.5 km run, I get home, and make oatmeal topped with blueberries, cranberries and brown sugar. Suddenly desperate for nourishment, I shovel oatmeal into my mouth like a fiend. It tastes like the best food I have ever eaten.
Maybe that’s why I keep running – for the oatmeal.