did this happen? Oh, I know. It began on a hot Sunday in October when I
ran six miles by the sea in Carenage with my husband's running club,
feeling more like a virtuous supportive wife than a runner, plotting to
get him to reciprocate with more chick flicks.
crept up on me because the following Sunday we were running along a
breezy, leafy path dappled in moving shapes of sunshine and shade in
Tucker Valley. And before I knew it I was plodding in the dusty heat at
the back of the pack in Cunupia and then one Sunday I found myself trying
to run 13 miles with the group, and in the 11th bursting into tears like a
frustrated teenager on the road to the airport. Admittedly the Wednesday
night sessions of speed work around various parks in Port of Spain were a
lot of fun. But I never intended to do the marathon.
I never intended to
run the 18 miles but kept going because it was pouring with rain and the
blisters weren't bad and the company great. And the 20 was just bad mind.
Then before I knew it I decided that I was not going to be left out of no
marathon and I watched myself in horror childishly boasting to everyone,
even my friends abroad, that I was doing the CLICO Marathon. The mature me
looked on in horror as the death wish rollercoaster child in me hurtled
ahead into an iron-bound spider's web. Is there such a thing?
am obsessed with my feet. After each run they bleed and I develop painful
blisters. I think about them all the time and as soon as I discreetly can,
look at them, willing them to get better. As soon as they start to heal I
have to put pressure on them with speed work or a run. We have begun
tapering until the marathon and only had to run 8 miles yesterday. Still I
did a horrible run yesterday. After about mile two my feet started killing
me even though they were bandaged like a mummy and I had on two pairs of
socks. I seriously doubt if I can make even half a marathon... I never
thought I would complete that 20-mile run last weekend which bloodied my
feet and made me want to weep like a baby on the pavement on the stop
line. I know I am not prepared for this marathon. I'm depressed. This
generalised anxiety has been going on all day. Why does it mean so much to
am obsessed with my diet as well as my feet, absurdly wondering with every
mouthful whether this or that will make me run better. Apparently the
lighter you are the better you run. But all this has done is made me weak
and I can't afford to be weak in addition to having deformed feet!
one of the regular runners in the group, just called me and said she would
rather run with me than run faster alone. I was touched and then wondered
neurotically if I could run at all.
up 3.00 am to check up on carb loading on the Internet. Apparently this is
something you need to do all week. This health thing is very confusing-on
the one hand they tell you the lighter you are the better you run-and to
do that you need to go on a low carb, high protein, low fat diet on the
other, they tell you to stuff yourself with potatoes, pasta, rice and warn
that low fat diets could damage runners. I do realise I am getting a bit
obsessive but every time I feel a twinge in my toe I am terrified that I
will fail. The books also say that you must visualise your victory so I
practiced putting my hands up in the air and swaying in that slo-mo way
you see in the movies but my practical side tells me I'll probably limp in
when everything is done.
puzzled. I've never been a pack person-always a bit of a loner, guarding
my quiet exercise time jealously, since I use it to work out problems,
work off fat and anger, and work up happy feelings. Now I'm worried about
other people. The fastest girl in the group is having knee problems. I saw
her gingerly walking around with running shoes and cycling while we did
our last run. My heart went out to her. I wanted her to heal. The other
girl says one knee is swollen but the other hurts.
not to do the race. My knee hurts. I'm not ready. I feel weepy.
I was just scared. I'll run. Ate cheesecake and pasta. Feel apprehensive
am wake-up time: Showered, spent half an hour bandaging up toes, drank a
gallon of water. The group meets at King George V Park. 3.30 am: We hold
hands in a wide circle under the night sky and pray.
The place is buzzing. Starting shot and everybody passes me. The army and
Coast Guard boys, the regulars, the pros, the ones who caught a vaps, the
Rastas, and Granny. The sun comes up pale gold over the cane fields, and
all I hear is the beat of my heart, and feel the thud of my shoes on
pavement, feel the sweat run into my eyes.
three miles. Sun is beating down on my face, my MP3 player has come off,
my number is unpinned, and someone has dumped a bucket of water over me
which makes my shoes soggy. By now I know it's not about the body. It's
about the mind. An amazing and unusual feeling of being unable to stop
flying, of disregarding bleeding feet, heat, pain-all that helplessness of
real life vanishing into grit.
mile. Almost there. My father runs with me. The final 100 yards. I've made
it. It takes a punishing run to recognise the body is immaterial. I weep
with gratitude for the five hours and thirty minutes that taught me it's
not about the feet, and all about the spirit.