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Marathon madness

So, yesterday I ran my second 20-miler of the season. Last year I only did one. I was totally dreading doing it -- with my work schedule as crazy as it's been lately, I feel like all I've been doing is working and running, and as a result I've been totally unenthusiastic about running. I've logged in all the miles anyway, but it hasn't been as much fun as last year.

That is, it wasn't until yesterday. I wouldn't call running 20 miles *easy*, but yesterday was about as easy as it could have felt for me. The weather was perfect, I never felt more than a normal level of fatigue, and I finished strong. I'm SO glad I did it. It makes me feel so much more confident that this year's marathon will go better than last year's.

According to my training program, I should have run the 20-miler today instead of yesterday. But only an idiot would try to run 20 miles on the day of the NYC Marathon -- you can't run in Central Park, obviously, but I also couldn't have run on the West Side Highway (at least, not without extreme pains in the ass in getting across town, since the race course blocks off much of 5th Avenue) or on the East Side Promenade (same problem with crossing 1st Avenue). I usually cheer for runners along the course, but this year I decided to volunteer. I got assigned to the post-finish-line area, which was a little disappointing -- didn't actually get to see anyone running, just plodding in their Mylar blankets after getting out of the baggage claim area. Some of the runners thanked us for volunteering; others ignored the "Congratulations!" we shouted (completely understandable; I know I couldn't recognize my own name for several minutes after finishing Philadelphia last year, let alone a stranger shouting congrats). One runner made me laugh, though -- I bought a soft pretzel from one of the street corner vendors and was eating it when a hungry runner gave me a look that said "I know what I'm doing is obnoxious, but I'm too hungry to care," plucked a big piece off my pretzel, and walked off! He's lucky I've run a marathon, so I sympathized (and had a good laugh about it with my fellow volunteers) instead of cursing his obnoxiousness. Too bad he didn't just ask me where I got it, though -- he could have had a whole pretzel from the trucks 20 feet behind me! I might have bought him the pretzel myself out of sympathy :)

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