On October 26, I successfully racewalked the 39th Marine Corps Marathon. Actually, in my own terms, much more than successfully. On race day, I was certain that I could meet the pace requirement for the first twenty miles1, but just barely. To my astonishment, I completed that distance twenty minutes faster than I ever expected. Overall, I finished the race in a very respectable time, and I had lots of energy and no significant pain or injury at the end. To say that I am proud of my achievement would be an understatement, not just because I had such a good race, but because I met all my goals.2
This blog was originally intended to document my training process as I prepared for the race and finally tested myself on race day. Instead, there were large gaps in the narrative because I did not want to talk about certain aspects of the training until I was sure they had paid off. Now I can freely discuss them, if not with the full backing of scientific research, then at least with the authority of success.3
So, in sharing the rest of this narrative, I will no longer be able to bring you along in a way that you sympathetically get butterflies before the race, wondering along with me if I can actually pull it off. But I will be able to tell you with clarity what worked and what didn’t. In so doing, I hope to engage you in the creative formation (or reformation) of your own approach to meeting and moving past physical challenges.
Whether you’re in a fitness program, trying to heal from an injury through rehab, or improve your skill and performance at a sport or other activity, I believe the principles I advance will provide an alternative perspective that can help you make progress with less wear and tear and greater pleasure.
- See post, “Be Careful What You Wish For”
- ‘See post, “We Choose To Go To The Moon.”
- Stephen Colbert fans may detect here a whiff of “truthiness” (i.e. something you know is true simply because it feels true). The difference in this case is measurable, objective reality: (a) exceeding performance expectations, (b) finishing the race, and (c) remaining energetic, uninjured and pain-free.