In 21 days, this 5k runner will be standing on the starting line of the NY Marathon, about to run 26.2 miles for the first time in my life (as hard as I can).

Hot damn!

For these final three weeks of marathon prep, my goal is to share at least one thing every day that has come to my attention as a result of training for my first marathon (the good, bad, and the strange). It might only be a sentence or two some days, but I want to write something. I’m sure you veterans out there will let me know which things are normal and which things certify me as a Fleshmaniac.

Today’s illumination is that marathon training makes me brain dead after 8pm, making it very difficult to write a meaningful blog. But what the hell. I’m still going to try to explain how the following tweet rocked my world on Friday as I prepared for a big weekend of training:

nyrrmaryruns Mary Wittenberg Sensing buzz everywhere as ing NYCm runners prepping for last 20 Miler this weekend! Best 2 all! #nyrr #ingnycm

In track and field, I feel more or less alone as I prepare for a big event. For example, in Daegu at the World Track Championships there were 23 women in the entire world on the same wavelength as me. Everyone else was on the outside, experiencing the event as a spectator. This isn’t a bad thing, its just the way it is in spectator sports.

So for the first six weeks of training for NY, I was going about my prep the same as all my other track races: with the feeling that I’m pretty much alone out there in what I’m trying to achieve. My loneliness was exacerbated by the fact that all my OTC Elite teammates were enjoying nice, long, post-season breaks, drinking margaritas and happily getting out of shape, and here I was pounding the pavement farther and faster than ever before.

But then Mary Wittenberg goes and writes that tweet and I’m practically knocked off my desk chair with a revelation: There are literally tens of thousands of people doing what I’m doing right now. They are preparing for their biggest long run before their marathon. And they have been building up to it for weeks, just like me.

This changed everything in an instant. Back when I was suffering from a week of sore quads during the beginning of my build up, when my calluses started accumulating, when my toenails started peacing out, there were thousands of people going through that same thing at that time. This might seem totally obvious to you guys, but it was revolutionary for me: this feeling that I was part of a mass movement of humans from all walks of life who randomly decided to run the NYC Marathon for a myriad of reasons.

Every day, all these strangers are trying to eat better and sleep more and talk themselves out the door on dead legs, temporarily structuring their life “like a marathoner” to accomplish a goal.

What an incredibly beautiful thing.

Jesse the great.

While I may have felt alone in what I was trying to achieve, I am not alone in the literal sense. Jesse is always there for me, willing to help however he can. This is a ridiculous photo, by the way. He’s too good looking in it. I’m losing concentration here.

 

Rinker

Coach Rinker biked alongside me on those first few scary tempo runs and is always game to help out.

Jon Murray

Jack fights fires with his massage techniques.

Ian Cronin and I running

Ian Cronin has been building some base for track season so we can run together now and then.

Nick and Craig

Buddies like Nick and Craig are always game for a run, especially when pancakes are involved.

Coach Rowland and Max

And then there is the big cheese Coach Row on the bike and his assistant Max running alongside us as we attempt the “big girl workouts” in these final weeks.