Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And Now the Nightmares Begin....

Last night in dreamland, I missed my marathonshowed up just as all the runners were crossing the finish line. The panic I felt was palpableif I hurried up and got started now, I could still say I ran it, right?

Not right.

The roads that had once been closed were reopened. People were packing up, heading home. One old man looked at me with better-luck-next-time pity in his eyes as I stood on the start/finish line blinking down at the crumpled Dixie cups littering the pavement.

I'm no stranger to the Cinderella-shows-up-after the-festivities-are-done brand of nightmare, so I expect this particular nightmare (and variations thereof) will visit me a few more times before I cross my waking finish line at the end of July. But I can't figure out why the nightmare would gear up the middle of what has arguably been the best week of training I've had yet:
  • I ran 14 miles on Friday and finished strong (a big relief because the 13.1 long run the week before left me feeling sick for most of the rest of the day);
  • I logged 4 miles in 37 minutes and change on Sunday which included my first ever sub-9 minute mile;
  • I ran 7 miles in less than 70 minutes yesterday;
  • And when the troll who lives in my brain said, "Fourteen miles, ha! Let's see you run another 12 right now!" I shut her up by telling her that I'd be happy to follow fourteen miles up with another twelve on the day of the race, eight weeks from now. Because building up slowly is kind of what training's all about.
Maybe the dream was just my troll's way of fighting her way off the endangered species list. But I'm hoping to graduate her from endangered to extinct before she can claw her way any deeper into my brain. In fact, this morning my legs saw the troll's night terrors and raised her four miles in 39: 21not even a foul-mouthed troll can say a bad word against three consecutive runs clocked in at an average speed of sub-ten-minutes per mile.

Catherine Elcik is running her first marathon to raise money for a scholarship fund for Grub Street, Inc, and independent writing center in Boston, MA. Sponsor the run at

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