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Getting to "Go"

I’m going to run a marathon!  I did not believe I could ever get to this point, but I’ve done my last long run, and I’m tapering just like the training plan says, and after June 1 I will be a marathon finisher.

Honestly, I’ve never been worried about my ability to complete a marathon.  I’ve been in enough hard races - where running turned into short walk breaks which turned into long walk breaks which turned into walking - to not be afraid of that option, and if walking is an option I know perfectly well that I can finish a marathon.  I do have a time goal, which I’ve been revising over the course of my training, and I still don’t know whether I can achieve that or not.  But I know I can finish. 

I just wasn’t sure I could start.   I had never run more than 13.1 miles, and I have tended to get ITB injuries when my mileage goes up, and I WRECKED my knees seven or eight years ago in an olympic distance triathlon that I really hadn’t trained well enough for.   I was prepared to get half-way through the program and pull out.  I was prepared to admit that marathoning wasn’t my thing. 

Sixteen weeks ago I looked at my training plan and quailed at that unrelenting weekly long run.  15, even 16 miles I could imagine accomplishing.  But then 18, 19, 20 - all as my “short” speed and pace runs grew right alongside them?  I was pretty sure I couldn’t do those and I dreaded them even as I worked through the gradual build-ups of the early weeks.  And the increasing difficulty of the middle ones. 

And you know what?  I finished them all.  And they were really really hard, but not impossible.  I was sore after I did them, but not injured.  I had built up my body over a long period of time to withstand the work, and now I can do the work.  When I started my program I did not know whether I would complete it.  Honestly, I still don’t know whether I’ll ever do it again.  But I’ve made it to the start line and it kind of doesn’t even matter if I get to the end now or not.  I have the confidence of having accomplished 18 weeks of hard work, according to plan.  I can run a marathon now.  It’s a powerful feeling.

My husband took an audition recently.  He hadn’t taken a big one one in years - that’s not the kind of playing he likes to do.  He didn’t win it, and hadn’t really expected to - but I think both of us were a little astonished that he made it onto the stage with his optimism intact.  The process of preparing for an audition grinds you down - you need to get microscopic with your playing in a way that can be agonizing.  You need to really get to the bottom of why you are no good, no good at all, and it’s hard and it hurts.

But doing the work is its own reward.  By the end of the preparation time you really have improved.  Maybe you aren’t going to win the Chicago Symphony job, or the marathon - but you’ve overcome the little voice that says you can’t.  

I couldn’t be prouder of Steve, and I can’t wait to run my marathon.


  1. Way to go! Both of you! That must be so exciting and rewarding to be at this point. Post lots of pictures, if you can. I've never run more then 7 miles and you are such an encouragement to keep pushing. Good luck on your big day.

  2. “The time has come”, the walrus said, “to….. run a marathon”. Well, maybe not, but the time is nigh. What a glorious, unequalled feeling! Selfishly I cannot help remembering the history of Marathon and its significance, actually on the whole civilized world. It is believed, that the runner Pheidippidis who ran from the “Fennel-field”, (Marathon) to central Athens to inform the archons of the outcome of the battle, was in fact a professional runner. A day or two before, he had run from Athens to Sparta, a distance of 150 miles each way, to seek military help.
    Anyway, congratulations on your decision to run. Don’t change it. You have thrown your ring into this canal of life, earnest token of self-confidence, and you will abide. You will run the race confidently and joyfully. And you will finish. And then you will feel that sublime ecstasy that comes with achieving what you set out to do. Sort of like playing an impossible series of notes….
    If you read a little bit of envy between these lines it is because it’s there. But our wishes for your success are with you all the way. Literally. Miltiades, the Greek general in command of the Marathon battle, went to Callimachus, the head of the generals, and explained to him why they should fight. “ Now, with you it rests”, he said. And he got his vote. And you have ours. So now, with you it rests!
    Once again you made me raise my eyebrows- I always find that challenging- with your reference to Steve’s audition. Not winning an audition doesn’t mean you are no good, no good at all. Even a perfectionist like you doesn’t believe that. It only means, and I am borrowing this phrase from an old cigarette ad, that yours should have been “a silly millimeter longer”.

    1. Oh no, oh no, you misunderstand. Losing the audition is perfectly normal. Hundreds of people take these auditions, and at most one can win. I was referring to the process of preparing oneself to audition. Beating yourself up, trying to eliminate the smallest flaws. It's emotionally exhausting. I wasn't saying anything bad about Steve - he's wonderful.
      Thank again for reading and commenting!


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