April 10, 2014

Dance On

26.2 miles is an odd distance, though somewhat arbitrarily (despite the wispy historical narrative propped up around it) the most celebrated road race, at present. When my hobby comes up, no one asks what I can run a mile in - which is good, because I don't have a clue. Nor do they ask what I run a 5K in, although it's probably a more fair test of running fitness - as opposed to fuel economy and muscular endurance - than the marathon.

People ask, of course, if I've run a marathon. And how fast.

Well, I've said, sort of. I've run three marathons, three 50Ks, and three 50 milers. So the distance is known to me. I explain, however, that these were all on trail, often rather hilly and rocky. I further mumble about the difference such factors can make, and the vast chasm between 50 mile pace and my presumed road marathon pace. 

Presumed, I say, because I haven't done a road marathon. 

But this Saturday, I'm going to.

To satisfy those external expectations. To sate my own curiosity. And for the experience. Mostly for the experience.

So, a little more than a day out: My legs feel good, my energy is solid, my guts are calm. Those are the things that make me nervous, more than my fitness. That, to say nothing at all, is what it is. But I want to find out what "it" is, and in order to do that, other things have to go right.

And they have. We'll have clear skies, 50 degrees, a flat course. 

That said, there's very little left but to race. Which is the reward, really, the ephemeral ambrosia to life's subsistence fair. One day to feel, to hurt, to endure, to rip at the throat and dance around the fire, and then to bathe in bliss, agony, finality.

To be blunt: I've experienced nothing remotely as satisfying as the final 200 yards of a race 13.1 miles or longer. It is the best thing in life I know (you will think of that sentiment what you will, but I assure you it's not hyperbole). I want that, and I want it as quickly as possible. 

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