Like most endurance sports, it seems to me that at least half of running is a mind game–the strain of thinking to yourself “left, right, left, right, breath!” can push you to the limit.
Yesterday, I went out for a 15-miler with two serious, 2-mile climbs built in. It was hot, but I felt good. In fact, for the first 7 and a half, I felt really good. I was Bernard
Lagat with Usain Bolt throwing flower petals at my feet with Steve Prefontaine back from the dead, skipping alongside me and playing the lute. I should just run the marathon right now!
Then I hit the midway point–and things started falling apart-I felt great until about mile 13, but then my knee flared up and my hips decided to hurt in solidarity. I silently began to resent the great for spending all their time writing plays instead of working on inventing a bicycle–that way Mr. Marathon or whatever his name was could have just ridden the damn distance, not died from exhaustion, and all I’d have to do to do a “marathon” was rid my bicycle for an hour and change. “ooh, Greeks were so smart and culture.” No, no they were not.
So clearly the conclusion in terms of the mental game is to run 52.4 miles, and then just stop at the midway point.
”]Still, I’m alive. My body is mostly cooperating. I didn’t curse at my greek neighbor. I’ve got exactly two weeks left today until the marathon. Will run 18-20 next week, and then stay in the 5-7 mile range.