Sunday, July 13, 2014

Marathon training--this is serious

Even just finishing week one of twenty weeks of marathon training I realize one thing--this is serious.  Of course, I know that.  Intellectually that is patently obvious.  I have to do a lot of preparation for my body to be able to run 26 miles without getting injured.  I have to put in a lot of time.  Run a lot of miles.  Go through at least one more pair of running shoes.  That is clear.

But today, it became clear at a much more visceral level and for two reasons. I have not run 16 miles since Saturday, April 26.  And that was one of only two 16 mile runs I have been on this year.  My body has done quite well hanging our running 10-13 many weekends.  Sometimes even a 15.  Last weekend for my long run a 14.  But this is getting me back to serious distances.  And, the plan that I am following suggested slow at first followed by faster to average at 8:30.  I averaged just about 8:30 but ran fast at first followed by slow.  That is not how to train for a marathon.  The ideal training is to take the beginning easier and then finish strong.  Even in workouts so that I know I can do it when it comes time for the race setting.  So, the first part of the visceral realization was just the sheer effort it takes to run 16 miles.

The second part of this was that I realized quite clearly that I am still not very good at "feeling" a pace--particularly when I am running with someone.  Despite sharing my goal and expectations, I tried not to look at my watch for the first 10 miles and I ended up going way too fast.  Less than ideal.  I live and learn.  I will have to spend more time looking at splits in the early miles of a workout to really get this down.

On my virtual pilgrimage from Baltimore to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, I have just passed into Kansas.  In fact, I am now a bit west of Fort Scott.  The Catholic church in Fort Scott is called Mary Queen of Angels.  The number of churches in honor or Mary in this section of the country along with route I am following is notable.  The image of Queen of Angels makes me think of the truly amazing nature of her relationship with God and Jesus.

Just today, I had my first really long run with someone who is also running Philly and will probably be right there with me when all is said and done.  I told her the extended story about my tattoo.  The tattoo represents a vulnerable male and all the women who have played an important role in his life.  One thing I never thought about before this entry is the role of Mary in my own life.  Mary the spiritual mother.  Mary the Mother of God.  Mary the Queen.  Someone who shared our humanity but who unlike Jesus did not have divinity.  A perfect example, such that I could add Mary to the list of women who are represented in some way by the woman named Irene with St. Sebastian in my tattoo.

And as I think about all of this yesterday's Gospel reading comes to mind.  It was Jesus story about the seed being sown in different places.  And how the only seed that became a strong plant was the seed that fell in  the right place.  And we have the opportunity to help ourselves to be in the right place.  My running helps to put me physically in the right place.  My pondering every day on this virtual pilgrimage helps me to put myself in the right place emotionally and spiritually.  

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