There is nothing more humbling than watching a Marathon in motion. A reminder of the truth of pain and sacrifice that the memory tends to forget. Think back to a particular race or hard run, I'm sure you remember it was tough but I doubt you can remember the utter misery. The burn of your lungs, the immobilizing build of acid in your legs - it's a shit show. And, it's probably best that we don't remember this level of detail as we would probably never want to run again. It's the thrill of the triumph of mental fortitude over physical breakdown that keeps us coming back. It keeps us on the hunt for our own edge of performance. Sometimes we fall short and feel more could have been given or we push too hard leading to a dramatic crash and burn. However if we are able to accurately assess our own abilities, remove the ego and bravado we can ride on the thin line of success.
On Sunday I went to the 28k mark of the Goodlife Toronto Marathon to cheer on some runners before keeping my buddy Joe company for a few kilometers as he attempted his own BQ. 28k has always been where the mirage of the marathon begins - before quickly vanishing again. You're comfortably running away from the half-way mark, and there is less road in front of you than behind.The golden rule, when it feels good you don't push the pace. If you do, it'll only be a few kilometers later when that high comes crashing down. Witnessing the race from 28 to 42.2k was a harsh return back to reality. It's where you see the triumph and tragedy as the miles take their toll. Conditions were far from ideal for racing and there was a lot of hurt to be had.
I know I'm rambling and look, I just kinda need to get these thoughts out - even if they're not yet complete. The marathon is a beast and if there is one truth that was reaffirmed it's that in running though everything is earned, nothing is promised. I'll admit, I've been living with my head a bit in the clouds since launching this blog. The concept that if I just train harder, smarter and push myself further I will be able to run a BQ. While these things are certainly required, they by no means present a magic key to the door. No level of preparation and training will take away the pain of running a marathon. It's gonna suck. However, if I can embrace (erm tolerate?) this suffering long enough I just might be successful.