17 Miles = (almost) Marathon Ready!

September 18, 2022

I’m not quite marathon ready, but I am darn close.

Today was a huge success. I logged 17 miles. I did it rather quickly, at least for me, or for a guy in his mid-fifties on a hilly and challenging course. I ran the distance in 2:47:51.

My training route took me into Hawthorne, New Jersey. I ran in the beautiful Goffle Brook Park and then scaled the intimidating Goffle Hill Road, a giant mountain that I call “The Monster.”

A long time ago, sometimes it seems forever ago, I trained for and ran my first marathon. That was 2002. I ran the wonderful New York City Marathon. I thought that I’d run the marathon once and then be done with all of this, but something happened along the way…

As I ran over the streets of New York City, and basked in the high fives, cheers, joy, love, and wonder, I got hooked. I knew that was something I had to do over and over – again and again. I loved the race! It was a glorious and wonderful and memorable day.

To date, I’ve completed 22 marathons. I’ve run Chicago, Philadelphia, Marine Corps, Baltimore, Walt Disney World, and numerous smaller races. I’ve completed the NYC Marathon eight times. On and on… and into forever.

I plan to run marathons forever.

Over this time, the New York City Marathon (as I have written many times) has become part of me. That race consumes me each summer and autumn as I plan and train for it. I can’t get enough of the race. I live for it. In the years I don’t run NYC, I have an empty feeling inside.

But, back in 2002, for that first one, my training took me only so far. I pushed as hard as I could and followed a great plan closely, except for the fact that in my training I couldn’t reach the longest required distance of 18 miles. My longest training run in 2002 peaked at 17.5 miles.

I remember the feelings of doubt that I faced as I headed to the start. I recall sitting on the shuttle bus and hearing other runners talking, “How many 20-milers did you do?” It seemed they all did a few. I wondered if I was asking too much of myself. How would I be able to run 26.2 if I couldn’t even reach 18?

But I did.

And it was wonderful.

Since that time, I have most often pushed to do at least one 20-miler in my training. But… I also know that once I reach 17 miles that I am in good enough shape to do the big race.

In seven weeks, I’ll be running the streets of NYC again. I’m just about ready.

I can’t wait!

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