Sunday, October 24, 2010


It was hot and I had nothing left to sweat, dry salt dusted my skin and I wanted to quit; to find a hole and hide until everyone left and then crawl home alone.

But I didn’t know how to quit and walking only prolonged the pain, so I continued to run…

18, 19, 20…

Only six more miles…six miles had always been an easy run, a recovery run, but now it was longer than I could imagine.

We had started the marathon fast, too fast. Feeling fresh, confident and completely invincible, my husband and I clipped through the first 10 miles passing jokes as we passed runner after runner…after runner, but now depleted and deflated, I was spent. I knew my husband could run faster, in fact it would be easier for him if he left me behind, and I told him to go, but he didn’t…he went against all he had ever trained for, and he stayed.

And I saw the backs of those I had passed miles ago slide by and out of my sight as I wondered if this would ever end.

It did.

I didn’t think it would, but it did. I finished the 26.2 miles and one lone sob escaped my body. That was all I had left. Every part of me hurt, both emotionally and physically and nothing I did brought relief…I never wanted to feel like that again.

But I knew I would.

I didn’t know when or where, but I needed another shot at that thing. It wasn’t my time; despite the painfully slow ending, I finished with a decent time. Truth be told I had come face to face with a part of me that I wasn’t very proud of, a part of me that wasn’t 100% true. I always had a pretty good sense of exactly how much work I had to put in to get by, and I had gotten by pretty well, but you can’t bluff your way through a marathon, and as anyone who has run a marathon knows:

"The will to win means nothing if you haven't the will to prepare."
Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner

Next time I would be prepared.

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