Indeed, the zeal of Boston’s rank-and-file marathoners rivaled, and in some ways echoed, the religious passion of Nathaniel Howe and his congregation. The runners indulged in orgies of self-denial–running 100 miles a week, working junk jobs in order to have time to train, paying their own way to races, banding together in ascetic cells, forgoing the temptations of an idolatrous world in order to attain grace and salvation on the road. As in Puritan New England, grace was not blithely attained. A believer-a runner-earned it by losing toenails and training down to bone and muscle, just as Puritans formed calluses on their knees from praying. No one made a cent from their strenuous efforts. The running life, like spiritual life, was its own reward. – Duel in the Sun
If you have 10 minutes, this is well worth the time.
I wanted to update those of you who are following my training to Boston. Things are going well, and I wanted to share a not-so-odd affliction that many marathoners may go through.
Yesterday was a great training run. Coach Dai set up a 16 mile training run. I met up with a great group of fast local runners, Justin, Ryan, and Steve, and we set out on a nice 8:00/mile warm up. Then it was time to “get into it.” The plan was to run at marathon pace of 6:30/mile. Our first mile was 6:41, and that’s as “slow” as it got! The overall average pace was 6:27. Without that warmup mile, it would have been much quicker. The last three miles were 6:15/mile average. To be seven weeks out and to have a training run @MP AND have a full recovery for a hill session the next day has me excited with the direction of my training. I honestly thought I would be putting in 80+ miles/week at this point, but I am following the plan and doing what the coach asks me to do. I was grateful to have Steve S. along for the duration.
Following the run, Final Kick Sports was hosting an event to raise money for Team Hoyt of Virginia Beach. I hadn’t planned on staying around, but I did so to chat to some other runners. For some reason, I stayed and I listened to some of the speakers. I was taken with Michael’s recount of Boston 2013. I had heard Dennis’ and David’s retelling, but to hear it from the perspective of a blind runner was fascinating. They were at mile 25 when the bombs went off at the finish line. Michael spoke of David and Dennis grabbing his cell phone and informing his family that he was okay. I was really glad to have stayed a bit longer to hear that. I knew there was a reason I stayed.
~Warning: Graphic images ahead!
This week brought two toe injuries/afflictions that are just part of the gig. The first one is a combination of a blister and wart. After last week’s 20-miler I developed a blister on my toe which was aggravated by a plantar wart on the same toe. I think I might lose this toenail.
Also, earlier in the week, I forgot a cardinal rule of distance running – Keep the toenails clipped!
As you can see, I have already lost the big toenail, but this is what I found when I took my sock off on Tuesday.
Last week after the last Distance Series, I talked with Navy-transplanted, Boston-native Kate H. She offered some first-hand insight of the Boston marathon from a spectator and participant point of view. I got excited to hear how Hopkinton treats the runners on Patriot’s Day. Yesterday my coach gave me Duel in the Sun to read. I read several pages last night, and the above passage from p. 11 struck me. It’s all starting to sink in now. Michael, hills, training, Beardsley and Salazar, losing toenails…Boston.