Mount Marathon Race reflections

So there I was, all cozy on the sofa reading through my favorite running blogs, when I came to a post by this tough and cool woman, who is panicked about running a high-elevation 50K when she’s been training practically at sea level. (Of course, she will do well.)

That’s when my own personal panic hit me and I thought: Uh-oh, Cinthia, you’ve done almost no mountain climbing, and the Mount Marathon Race is just a few weeks away.

Photo credit: Ron Niebrugge

Worse still, the race is a mere 10 days after the Mayor’s Marathon.

The race is tough, even when one adequately trains. And since I’m tapering for the marathon, I can’t exactly go out and run full-force up mountains.

Struggling up a brutal ridge during last year’s Mt Marathon Race. I lived in Seward then and trained on the mountain. But still, see the look of pure and unadorned suffering on my face?

I have resigned myself to the fact that I am going to have a slow race. In more optimistic moments (i.e., when I’m lying), I tell myself that all of my long-distance and cardio training can substitute for steep, uphill training, though I know that it can’t, at least not all the way. Or at least, not enough.

But then I think of the real reason I run this race: In honor of my sister, Cathie, who died of eating disorder related complications on July 4, 2001, and I realize that it isn’t about how fast I go or how much I impress myself. This race is about committment, about honoring my ties with my sister. It’s about pushing myself beyond my limits and digging down deep, beyond ego and pain, to that simple place inside of myself, and that feeling of joy and freedom I used to feel with I ran with my sister through the pastures and fields of our childhood.

And when I remember that, it no longer matters how much I suffer or how slow I race, because I am alive, I have that luxury. I can still run and breathe and hurl myself down a mountain. And really, that is no small thing. And really, I am so, so very grateful.

So Cathie, honey, I’ll see you at the top of the mountain, okay?

3 thoughts on “Mount Marathon Race reflections

  1. Karen

    She'll definitely be up there to give you a high five! I don't think anyone can really call Mt. Marathon a running race and maybe the best training is for you to crawl a few miles on all fours to get the proper form down. Mt. Marathon scares the craaaap out of me. Your fitness will translate and you'll do great, I know it 🙂


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