Did I tell you I'm running a marathon? No? Oh, well, add me to the list of stupid idiots that think running 26.2 miles in one morning is a good decision.
So, I'm running a marathon sometime in 2012. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about day one.
The New York City ING Marathon will begin tomorrow morning. The city is in a full marathon mode, barricades are set up, the path is properly labeled with banners and flags, signs are in store windows, congratulating tomorrow's runners. So what better time to start the training for MY marathon than today? The ultimate goal is to run the NYC marathon in exactly one year. (Note: it can be really difficult to get in to run the NYC marathon, which is a crazy idea if you think about it - it is HARD to gain access to run 26.2 miles. So Philly or DC may have to take NYC's place if I can't get in.)
This morning, Craig and I went to Central Park to run around the Jackie O. Reservoir. The 1.6 mile loop would be a perfect start to our running "careers". We would go around twice, just over 3 miles. I take a spin class several times a week, do weekly cardio classes, yoga, swim, pilates, certainly running 3 miles wouldn't be a bad place to start. We walked over, arms crossed against the chilly wind, excited to begin this journey. At the reservoir, we noticed the marathon flags. "They'll run down this road tomorrow," Craig said, and I thought about how I might run down that road in one year. I was excited.
We started running at a steady pace together and I was feeling good. The leaves were beautiful in the park and the water glistened in the sunlight. And then it hit me: a cramp. Already! We stopped and walked for a bit, the cramp subsided and so we picked it back up again. I was surprised that running didn't hurt my knees or my hips, and I didn't even feel a burn in my muscles! At the mile point, my hand found my abdomen again as the cramp swelled back up. Suddenly, the other side cramped up as well. Breathing in started to feel like knives being jammed into my ribcage and I slowed to a walk again. Craig ran ahead and I walked with my hands rubbing the knots in my stomach. At one point, a man walking with his new-to-two-legs child passed me. I caught up with Craig and he could see it on my face. "What's wrong?" he said. "I can't do this," I lamented back, "Why can't I do this?"
And there it happened. I cried. I cried with over half a mile to go before I got back to the starting point. The point where I intended to start a second lap. I cried from the pain of the cramps and the headache I started to feel. I cried for the second lap I knew I could never complete. I cried from the disappointment I felt in myself. Craig walked with me a bit and eventually the cramping subsided, along with the tears. At the bend in the path, I decided that I would push myself, push past the pain and the disappointment and complete the last half a mile to the starting point. So we did. We ran together through the last bit of the reservoir loop.
At the end of the loop, we made our way out of the park. Crossing the street, the 24 Mile banner hung over the road. 2.6 miles past that point was the NYC Marathon finish line. And I couldn't even make it 1.6 miles around the reservoir.
Let's just say, there is work to be done.