Today I ran over 36 kilometers (22+ miles), the longest distance I’ve ever gone at once, and it was not as hard as I thought it would be. It was the last long run of my marathon training and it was the first time I felt the marathon within my grasp. My legs were a little tired at the end, but I definitely had another six kilometers in me.
There are not too many training days left. All I have now are a couple of fartleks and one medium distance run before the big day. I am sneaking in a little local race on Sunday, and other than that, I can run whenever I want without overdoing it, so long as my legs stay somewhat rested.
I am very excited. And nervous. Part of me wants to take it easy and not push it, just run slowish and enjoy it, but a much bigger part of me wants to nail the time my trainer has in mind for me, because he has been so helpful and supportive, and because it might impress all those jocks in my running club who send me pictures of themselves crossing finish lines in their skin tight running outfits, muscles bulging, giant smiles on their faces, as if it cost them nothing to finish a race in a time that makes them eligible for the Boston Marathon. They tell me I have no way of knowing how I will do or what will happen because it is my first marathon, and they say this kindly, but it irks me nonetheless. If I could knock their socks off with an impressive time, and pretend it cost me nothing, I think that might make all of this even sweeter. I confess: I want one of those pictures too!
But the thing is, they are right. I have no idea how I will do or what will happen because it is my first time doing this. Today I ran over 36 kilometers, but I’ve never run over 42. And then there are other variables like the weather and how I’m feeling that day. Anything could happen, really, and so I try not to invest too much in it. My number one goal is to finish. Number two is to finish still running, and quite possibly with a smile on my face. If I can do that in a time I can be proud of, well, that would be just about the greatest feeling I can imagine feeling at this point in my life.