Notes From a Hired Pen

Week 17: Revisions

5 miles including three one-mile repeats, 50:59

On Saturday morning, I sat on a bench in Boston Common, called my mom, and started sobbing. “I don’t want to do this anymore,” I said through huffed out breaths. “I can’t. I can’t do this.”

She asked what I was referring to, and I couldn’t pinpoint just one thing because I was overwhelmed by all of it: book travel, marathon training, trying to keep up with my regular job. My Boston event on Friday night was the fourth event I’d done in less than two weeks. I’d only slept four fitful hours. I half lost my voice. And I wasn’t just sick of everything but  sick sick. After I ran the BAA 5k that morning, where I finally snapped at people who slowed down to take selfies on the course, I fell into a terrible head cold that had me stuffed up, dried out and wanting nothing more in that moment than to be home.

When I signed up for the 2016 New Jersey Marathon and set an ambitious (for me) goal of running it in under four hours, I knew this might happen. Setting up the bulk of my training at the same time I’d be (hopefully) doing the most of publicity for the book was probably a bad idea. I said I’d try to see if I could juggle it all, and if I couldn’t, drop something.

As it turned out, I didn’t have a choice. My body shut down before I could make the decision for myself.

So as of today, I’m revising my marathon goal. I want to run and finish strong. I probably won’t break four hours, but unless it’s obscenely hot on race day, I will most likely perform better than I did in my last two marathons, and that’s OK with me. It’s a much better solution than what I proposed on the phone on Saturday, which was not running at all.

Seeing – via the internet – so many of my friends run the Boston marathon yesterday and revel in just being there, and finishing with a sense of satisfaction if not hitting goal times (since it was a hot day) reminded me as to why I do this. I ran marathons for the 18 weeks of training, not race day. And in the case for this cycle, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a book that’s being well received and in demand. I only write one of these every five years or so. I decided to enjoy that too.

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