Better Half

By most accounts, my weekend was a pretty uneventful one. Friday, I was in bed by 10 p.m. Saturday, I cooked a low-key dinner for my boyfriend. Today, I did a long run, hobbled to the loveseat and vowed never to stand up again. Speaking of which, hey, Ben, can you toss me a seltzer water? Great, thanks. If only we owned a chamber pot.

To the untrained eye, my weekend might appear unremarkable, prosaic or downright tame. But in fact, it was actually quite momentous.

Why, you ask? Let my friend Jon lay it out for you.

Tommy used to work on the docks. Union’s been on strike. He’s down on his luck. It’s tough, so tough.

Are you with me yet? No? Let’s continue then.

Gina works the diner all day. Working for her man, she brings home her pay for love, for love. She says, “We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got. ‘Cause it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not. We’ve got each other and that’s a lot for love; we’ll give it a shot.”

Oh good. Now we’re all on the same page. All together now:

Oohhhh, we’re halfway there! (Oh, oh, living on a prayer.)

That’s right, folks. Today’s long run wasn’t just any long run — it was the official halfway point of my 20-week marathon training cycle. In other words, ooooh, I’m halfway there! (Oh, oh, living on a prayer. Seriously, you try saying the first line without the second. It’s downright impossible. Damn you, Jon Bon Jovi, and your catchy show tunes.)

I’ve been marathon training since July 7, and in some ways, I’m kind of sad the first half is over. The first 10 weeks of training, your midweek workouts aren’t too arduous to tackle before work. Your weekend long runs aren’t so long you can’t recover in a day. Your friends aren’t yet tired of hearing: “Sorry, no wine for me tonight. I’m running in the morning.” You still have toenails.

The second half of a marathon training cycle is in many ways a lot tougher. The novelty will have worn off. I’ll be upping my mileage to 50 miles a week. I’ll be logging most of my miles in the pitch black. I’ll be celebrating my 29th birthday five whopping days before the big race. Hey everybody! O’Douls all around!

Of course, the second half of marathon training also brings some perks, like the satisfaction of completing a 20-mile training run and the promise of a taper and all the glory that is court-ordered carbo loading. And let’s not forget the most important part of the second half of marathon training: it culminates in the marathon itself.

That’s right — if the second half of training goes as well as the first, at this time in 10 short weeks, I’ll will be stuffing cheesesteak after cheesesteak down my throat having just finished the Philadelphia Marathon. After 20 weeks of dedication, that’s what I call a victory lap.


How is your training progressing? In the illustrious words of JBJ: Take my hand, we’ll make it, I swear. (Oh, oh, living on a prayer.)


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