Can I Do It?

INGNYCM13_IslandToIsland_04_0

I’m not into bucket lists, but if I was going to have a bucket list I would put running the NYC marathon on that list, and since I just finished my fourth week of training in a 16 week marathon training program, to be ready to run from Staten Island to Central Park, passing through all five boroughs of the city in the process on November 2, against the advice of the orthopedic doctor I saw about my sore knees and some of the signals from those knees (though not all the signals, or I would stop training, or at least I tell myself I would stop), I guess I do have a bucket list and as of now the only item on it is running the NYC marathon.

I ran 10 miles on Saturday. That’s the furthest I’ve run in a couple of years, since doing a half marathon in November of 2012.  I didn’t run at all for over two months this past winter because my right knee was too painful.  At that point I knew I’d gotten in to the NYC marathon, which I’ve been trying to get in to for years, so I was discouraged and frustrated.  Friends who run marathons regularly tell me if you’re going to do one, NYC is the one to do.

In mid-March, when my knee was still bothering me even after over a month of not running and a couple of months of physical therapy, I made an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor.

“I don’t see anything on your x-rays that isn’t explained by age,” the doctor told me.  “And I see no reason you can’t keep running 3 or 4 miles at a time, 3 or 4 times a week, for as long as you want.  But I think you should really think about not running a marathon.  You could do damage that would make you unable to run.  I’m a runner myself and I’ve decided I’m never going to do a marathon.”

“But I’ve done a number of half marathons,” I said.

“Yes,” the doctor said.  “That’s half the distance of a marathon.”

He has a point.  But so do I.  I want to do a marathon.  I admit waiting until I was 60 to decide doing a marathon, the NYC marathon, is on my bucket list is a bit late.  But by the end of March I was running again and I’ve been carefully adding miles to get to the point where I could start a training plan.  I’m paying a lot of attention to both knees as I train and I’m ready to stop if they get too painful.  The knees are definitely a bit cranky, but nothing like this winter, and nothing yet to make me stop.

So I’m hopeful.  In the training plan I’m following this is a step back week.  My long run this week will only be 7 miles.  Good.  Ten felt like a lot.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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4 Responses to Can I Do It?

  1. Cindy Stevens says:

    Good luck! You are inspiring me to get out there…I want to walk. I’m so impressed you’re doing this…go for it!!! 🙂

  2. Antoinette Purinton says:

    Listen to your body, and your heart. Somewhere there’s middle ground.
    J is training for the Portland marathon in Oct. Ran there last w/e in a 10k, 6 miles in 46 mins, her best. (She’s not 60.)
    Good luck and happy running.

    • Grace Mattern says:

      I believe the middle ground is being willing to walk in the middle of a run. New idea for me, to slow down, but it’s working.

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