There are a lot of things about marathon training, but one that is especially frustrating is that there’s no one run that makes a difference. It’s a cumulative experience of long runs, pace runs, and runs that once seemed long but are now just 8 miles. There’s no way to cram for a marathon.
My first marathon is in ten days, and Hal Higdon has told me to rest. This makes me anxious.
I’m so used to running structuring my time, getting me into Prospect Park and clearing my head, I’m not sure what to do with myself. I feel all this energy building up in my legs, and I have to store it up for a week and a half.
The other thing about racing is that unless you’re fast, and I mean superhuman fast, it doesn’t matter at all. On my last long run, I literally ran into a friend (I suppose literally is too strong—we didn’t hit each other, but we were both running and we saw each other) and then ran with him for an hour. I was talking about the race, and to check myself, I said something about how it doesn’t really matter. I’m not an Olympic athlete; I’m just some chick who likes long term goals and fresh air. But my impromptu running buddy reminded me that even a local elite runner, whose goal is to finish about 90 minutes ahead of me, would still finish about 20 minutes behind the real runners. Even for the very fast, it doesn’t matter.
It’s hard to admit to caring about something with no greater purpose and it’s hard to run 20 miles and not get a t-shirt for your effort. And until March 27, it’s hard to wait with nothing certain but more waiting.