I can run again in one more week. My tendinitis has been gone long enough and I’ve been doing enough preventative exercises on a regular enough basis to be clear to begin marathon training again. Yesterday I even started making a running playlist.

The whole marathon thing is still a sore spot. I didn’t finish the first one because I trained like an idiot and developed tendinitis in my knee. Everyone knew I was training. My family. All my friends. Explaining to each one of them why I didn’t even finish after training for so many months was a very demoralizing experience.

Running a marathon is one of those life goal things. And for me it represented something too, something more than just running. It represented the human effort required to accomplish something you never thought you could accomplish. It was sort of an “up yours” to the rhythmic perpetuation of mundanity in life, of just being a cog in a wheel, a mover of numbers on spreadsheets.

Marathon running is individual. The effort required is individual. That, combined with the extreme physical nature of the training process, lets you explore your personal limitations in a way that few things can. You are brought to the very end of your rope and are faced with the fact that you have to go further. You have to keep going. That is a very freeing thing. To expand the bandwidth of limitation. To test your body. To push and push until you are in a place you couldn’t have been otherwise without those grueling hours.

My case is an object lesson in what pride can do when going through this process. I got a big head, thought I could handle extra-long training days at too fast a clip. I let gaiety and even levity take over in my mind rather than remembering with humility what I was trying to accomplish. Instead of taking the advice of smart trainers who’d gone before me, who warned of over-training, I went rogue and tried to forge my own path. I thought perhaps I was a special case, a quasi-superhuman that could handle more. Boy, was I wrong.

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