Ever since T,H,E K,I,D and I were tots, I have always imagined that I had some superhero-type ability that I had simply yet to discover. Looking back at my race history, I'm pretty sure that the ability to run a super fast speeds does not reside deep within me. Likewise, I have never been able to fly, breathe underwater nor become invisible on command (though, in high school, many females acted as though I were invisible). And, while I had never been able to see into the future, on August 14th, I began to re-think that notion thanks to a most unforeseen person....the New York Times' Tara Parker-Pope!
For some time, I've been an outspoken critic of Parker-Pope's Wellness Blog, a site featuring articles providing tips, advice and encouragement to all runners preparing for their first marathon. Specifically, I strongly disagreed with two of Parker-Pope's articles which endorsed the run/walk method as well as encouraged runners to spend less time engaged in their long runs and use those hours instead to get more rest. In each of those past posts, published on June 4, 2009 and June 23, 2009, respectively, I argued that a marathon is as much as test of mental fortitude and perseverance in the face of adversity as it is a test of running ability. To truly feel a sense of accomplishment, my thinking went, one had to dig deep within themselves and push themselves far beyond their breaking points. 'No pain, no gain' was the bedrock of my argument, and any strategies aimed at making a marathon more 'comfortable' completely missed the point.
And wouldn't you know it, on August 14th, Parker-Pope posted an article by Mark Bittman which seemingly echoes the same argument I made more than two months ago! Should Running Hurt A Little? recounts the advice Bittman received from Glen Weiner of the New York Flyers running club which, at its core, seems to have been taken directly from my theories. Telling Bittman that a marathon is more than simply a road race, Weiner waxed poetic at how, "The real question, he notes, is whether I just want to complete the marathon, or do I want to set a larger goal? If I want to become a better runner, he told me, the next step is to push myself and hurt a little more. “At this point there is no doubt that you’ll complete the marathon, but the question you have to ask yourself is, ‘Do I want to do more than just finish?’ he said". This notion that simply finishing a marathon is not enough is exactly what I've been saying all along!!
With my running in the Chicago Marathon only about a month away, I have been too excited to confirm whether or not my ability to predict the future is a reality of simply a one-time coincidence. But this much I believe I can predict: the future holds endless miles of runs including a painful but worthwhile 26.2 miles coming up in the Windy City.