Day 9 – Saturday, August 19, 2017 (The wall)
8:21 a.m. – Back home. It was hell getting out the door today.
I’ve run six marathons in my life, slowly I might add. My fastest was five hours, eight minutes: five New York Marathons and one Marine Corps Marathon. When I began training for my first, I’d hear about this thing every distance runner hits called, “the wall.” Some moment when your body essentially says, You’re on your own, kid, and leaves any further leg movements up to your mind, your will power.
My thought was, how thick could a wall be? I mean, a half mile, a mile maybe? You go through the wall and come out the other side, no? No. No, you don’t. You hit the wall and that is where you stay for the rest of the marathon. My understanding is most hit it between 18 miles and 20 miles. I’d usually hit it around 20 miles, which is why I tell people, the last 6.2 of a marathon, 26.2 miles in length by definition, is 10 times harder than the first 20. It’s all willpower. Which is why, finishing a marathon saturates the finisher with joy, and pride. And so, it should!
When I woke up this morning, I realized I’d hit the wall. I was reeling a bit from nightmares, afraid to even take Charley out. All of me wanted to go back to bed, back to sleep. Just, sleep. And so, I went back to bed and set a timer. When it went off, I got up, and got into the shower. It was the feeling of the hot water on my body and the movements of washing my body that ignited, first the notion, and then the awareness, that I would get out the door.
And so, I went out the door and the walk was, in truth, not so bad. Later this morning I will be in Albany meet with some old friends in the brain injury world and sit in on their workshop. In the meantime, I am going to have another cup of coffee and shoot the breeze with Charley for a while.
For Fred Lebow