Kelly and I just passed the halfway point in marathon training - nine weeks down and nine more to go. But we haven’t reached the tough part yet. By the end of this month, our mileage will double that of what we ran at the beginning. For me, this means devouring gobs more bananas and peanut butter (please send more soon mom!), my clothes becoming a bit more ill-fitting, dragging myself out of bed even more unreasonably early for before-work runs, and being awoken in the middle of the night by even more of those painful, piercing, it-hurts-just-thinking-about-them muscle cramps in my calves.
Even though I train for each marathon pretty much the same way – which is essentially conditioning myself for this very long race by breaking down my body and then building it back up – every time it feels different. Kelly and I always ran together when we were training for St. Louis in 2007. Now that we’re on separate continents, that’s not so possible. I am grateful though that we can keep tabs on each other thanks to tecknology, aka a shared Google calendar we use to update our progress.
I do miss Kelly’s companionship, but training for this marathon while in Europe has its perks, too. When I was on my Tour de France trip, one morning I ran the race route 14 miles through these tiny Swiss villages and fields. The Swiss mountains kept me company. The air felt cleaner than any other air I’ve ever remembered breathing, but I probably just thought that because the nature around me was so green and so big and so full.
I probably won’t get another such run, because I don’t think I’ll be going back to Switzerland before the race. So I’ll just keep trucking away here in Paris. Fortunately, the whole city is disappearing to take their vacation outside of the city, so I’m looking forward to calm and empty streets this August. Me and my TAL podcasts are going to dominate the Paris streets - watch out.
This is what my shoes look like now, for anyone who is interested. I don't know who would be, but I am posting it anyway. They looked like this before.