You know I am training for a marathon. I’m not near the level of Boston, the Mecca of Marathons, but I could imagine someday being. My dad ran Boston a number of times. I had friends running today.
Two weeks ago I was ready to give up on my marathon training. Clearly I was just not meant to run such distances. I had had that cold back in early March, and the bronchitis, and had taken about a week off from my training schedule. When I started back up I had one sort of OK run and then everything went downhill fast. I was stopping short of my mileage goals and getting nowhere near my pace goals, and generally felt lousy about the whole endeavor. This lasted for almost three weeks, or “forever” in runner’s jargon. I wanted to quit.
The worst thing about a running slump is the mysterious feeling of getting progressively worse. Of fighting a losing battle against your own limits. Of inexplicably sliding further and further backwards. It would have felt better to stay on the couch – at least if I wasn’t out doing the runs at all I’d know exactly why I couldn’t get through a seven mile pace workout. It would be my fault instead of just a lousy thing happening to me. I kept pushing, and failing, and trying.
Finally, I went out with a group of symphony friends, and broke back through. We had an outstanding eight mile run during which I never felt like walking, and every run since then has been great. Not effortless, but that’s not the point. I can complete my workouts as planned, and I’m proud to be there.
My original plan for this post was to talk about working through the slump, and how I do the same thing on the oboe, and in my writing, and how just sticking with it and continuing to do the work is pretty much always the answer.
But after today’s news I just want to salute runners everywhere.
I want to celebrate the athletes in Boston, who all have worked through their own hard times to get there.
I want to think about the rescue teams and volunteers who helped in the wake of the explosions there today, and all the amazing runners who finished a MARATHON and went straight on to the hospital to donate blood for the victims of this attack.
I want to thank all of the people everywhere who do NOT set bombs to harm the innocent, and who do NOT carry weapons to threaten violence to others, and who are as shocked and saddened as I am at this tragedy.
I want to continue to believe in and love the human race.
Thank you, runners. Thank you, people.