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The Big 2-0

I did it. For the second time in my life, I completed a 20-mile run. Not only does this number mark the height of many marathon training schedules, but for me it is also significant in that I've been here once before, and I broke down. My body suddenly decided it had been pushed too much and would not finish the training or run the marathon. So here I am in my post-20-miler week, hoping to make it through. After all, it was on an "easy" five-mile run that my injury occurred. And it was on a Thursday--tomorrow. I am admittedly somewhat superstitious, so my real feat will be getting past tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day--until I actually make it to Chicago on race day. In fact, I was talking to a run-club friend last night, who is also running Chicago, about our sudden fear of incurring a non-running injury in our daily lives--falling down some stairs, tripping on curb, or some other injury of klutz--that would prohibit us from making it to race day. I suddenly realized what a tenuous state I was in, and would be in, until October 9.

But I can't really function properly in that mind frame. After all, so many things are out of my control, and my previous injury happened without a single warning. So I must try to push those fears aside and enjoy these last few weeks of tapering down my training. Or not. I have yet to decide if I'll do another 20-miler this weekend. Beginner training plans only include one 20-mile run, but I've been training somewhere between a bronze and silver, or a novice 1 and novice 2, schedule, depending on whose you look at (I looked at four--it seemed wise until my current dilemma, and only then did I begin to appreciate all of the thought and planning that goes into a single training schedule). If I don't do another 20 this weekend, I'm at a loss for what to do. The height of training is supposed to occur three to four weeks prior to the race, and if I call this past weekend the height of my training, that's five weeks before race day. Which must mean that I'm likely to lose some of my endurance and ability with that extra week or two of tapering. I think there is such thing as becoming too rested before a race.

This is nonetheless an important milestone (pun absolutely intended). It's not the ultimate one I hope to achieve, but I can already look back on my arduous summer of training with such pride and gratitude for everything my body and my mind did do. As a symbolic gesture of the real gesture I perform after every difficult run, I pat myself on the back (I'm so beyond caring about how that looks to others after those runs). Good job, Lee.


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