Guys, I don’t know what’s going on these past few days, but I’m just going to come out and say it:
I’m nostalgic about marathon training.
I honestly don’t know what snapped, but I find myself scrolling through old pictures and videos from those peak NYC Marathon Training training months of September and October of last year from the other side of the finish line, I suddenly feel… nostalgia.
Particularly those late weeknights where I’d run 5, 7, even 10 miles after a full day of work, all by myself, alone in the office gym with no one but me, myself, I, and my cell phone.
It was hard work. It was painful. And I KNOW I was burnt out, especially towards the end. I also remember a few nights where the miles wouldn’t come easily. One night I wound up screaming at myself for not being able to run 10 stupid miles when I’d just done 15 the weekend before.
But there was also a lot of joy in those hours of running. I watched a lot of movies I’d been wanting to watch. I cracked myself up when I realized I’d filmed 3 Insta-Stories in a row about Jeff Goldblum’s Instagram feed and younger-than-me wife. I had a blast talking to the camera about how I attempted to run the first mile or so on an incline and simulated the race course (with disastrous results).
I was happy knowing my body could do nearly impossible things. I was achieving new goals with every run. I remember driving home after some of those longer mid-week runs at 8:30, even 9PM some nights, singing along to my radio in total joy over what I had accomplished.
Go ahead and say “I told you so”, but… I am profoundly sad that I’m not doing that this year.
Does this mean I’m going to sign up for another marathon tomorrow? No. Not by a long shot. But it’s helped me learn that a lot of my marathon anxiety – and the general bad taste about running that was left in my mouth after the race – stemmed from the fact that it was my first time doing this big, huge, impossible thing.
With a little perspective, I realize now that the first time I attempted any distance, from 5K to half marathon, was rough. But with each race and each training cycle I kept at it, got stronger, learned new skills to cope with the dark times and better anticipated what to expect. Why would the marathon be any different?
In my nostalgia, I went back and re-read one of my final training posts from last year, when my sweet friend Liz gave me this gift when I was at the absolute lowest point of training:
I thought “one day” meant Race Day.
I was wrong.
It’s taken me nearly a year, but all the physical and mental pain I went through to get to the end of 26.2 is finally starting to make sense.
And that’s pretty cool.