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I lost my toenails at about the halfway point. I knew that would happen as my toenails got bruised up magnificently from running in my trail shoes while on my honeymoon. I told my run coach that I might not stick to my training on my honeymoon, but exploring new places on foot is one of my favorite things, and miles and miles of the Australian coast were calling my name. Putting the female body through hundreds of training miles lends to the development of certain skills. One of which is the art of gluing your toenails on with nail polish.
At the half way point, I can say that my amazement and gratitude are at an all-time high. I’m always reinventing myself as an athlete (Golf? Sign me up! Ballroom dance? By all means!), but if you told me a year ago that I would run 18 miles and live to tell about it…well that’s a whole different story. Because that involves having to push, I mean PUSH, myself to keep going when I’m not even sure I can lift my leg high enough to ascend a curb. But when it’s done, and you realize that you did it, one mile at a time, and when that’s too hard you do it one step at a time, it feels pretty magnificent. And then you wake up each day and roll out your feet (frozen golf balls are my go-to for that) and your calves and you get after it again.
I was afraid that training for this marathon would make me hate running. Last year I trained for a 10-mile race with the intention of running those 10 miles faster than I usually do. And THAT made me hate running for a while. But distance doesn’t intimidate me the way speed does. And I’m still pretty excited for each run. I would be remiss to leave out mentioning my running buddy at this point. She is one of my closest friends, and someone who I didn’t know at all when we decided to do our first race together. Through 4 years and hundreds of miles together that we’ve gotten to know everything, and I mean EVERYTHING about each other. Sometimes our weekly runs are better than therapy. You runners out there know exactly what I’m talking about.
Despite the inner thigh chafing, rapid-fire replacement of running shoes, and my fear that after this is all over I’m NEVER going to want to eat hard-boiled eggs ever, ever again, it’s worth it. And I know someday I’m going to look back and remember that one time I decided it would be a good idea to run my first marathon at the age of 42, and I’ll just smile.