It’s been one year, two months and twelve days since my last marathon.
The 26.2-mile siren has awakened. And man is it hard to put a lid on that thing.
Towards the end of 2011, I told myself that I wouldn’t let another year slip by without a marathon. Around that same time, my brother Chris had an idea: Wouldn’t it be cool if we and our two siblings, and any other family or friends who wanted to join us, all went to Buffalo to visit our grandparents and run the marathon there on Memorial Day weekend?
To be honest, the Buffalo Marathon isn’t very high on my list of Spectacular Must-Run Marathons. Ok, ok. It isn’t even on the list. But I haven’t visited Buffalo in years, and the idea of running in an event with my siblings – the four of us are in the same place at the same time once a year, if that – struck a sentimental chord in me. I warmed up to the idea more and more, and officially registered for the race last month. No turning back now!
I took several days completely off from running after the 3M Half-Marathon. I knew that if I didn’t give my legs at least a little bit of rest between training for the half and the full, first they would laugh at me hysterically, and then they would get very, very angry. You think legs don’t laugh or get angry? Oh, trust me. They do.
During that rest period, and my first couple “re-entry” runs after that, I did some considering. When you start to prepare for a race, no matter what the distance, you make a decision: Am I going to train for this race, or I am going to Train for this race, with a capital “T”?
For my last marathon, I had my hopes set pretty high. They didn’t pan out. The interim time has done its job, though – it has paved right over that disappointment. Or maybe a forest trail is a better metaphor. The old trail, the one that only led to frustrated ambitions, has grown over now, reclaimed by successes, fresh confidence, and a little more faith. With this reclaiming, I figure there’s a chance to forge a brand-new trail – a better, stronger, more carefully-plotted one.
I decided that I’m going to Train for this marathon. I’ll do workouts to increase long-distance speed. I’ll be more mindful during long runs. When it’s time to rest, I will rest, knowing that it will make me stronger for the next day. I will keep my body well-fueled for the task at hand (foot?); I will not let the fretting calorie counters of the world compromise my body image.
And so the routine has begun: early-to-bed Fridays, early-rise Saturdays. Keeping a stock of goopy energy gels. Weekend afternoon naps that are a necessity, not a luxury. The occasional ice bath. Wearing comfy sneakers a lot more than “nice” shoes. I will re-acquaint myself with my fuel belt… and the bushes along my favorite running path (yep, that means exactly what you think it means). My legs will no doubt scheme up new little aches and sorenesses just to annoy me.
If only you could see the smile on my face right now.