For more than five months, I trained and trained and trained. Still, I was fairly certain that the sweat, sore legs and lonely miles were probably going to be for nothing.
I was right.
My marathon was canceled.
Just another event that sat circled on my 2020 calendar to be scratched out, eliminated by the pandemic in this year of struggles.
In March, with the onset of sudden and unanticipated downtime because of the COVID-19 crisis, I decided that if I wasn't going to be traveling as much, I would refocus my efforts and energy into a new challenge. I had never wanted to try a marathon. The race itself seemed like a fun event and a worthy accomplishment. But the long hours training to complete a 26.2-mile race were not really something I could -- or wanted to -- fit into my schedule.
The shutdown of travel and extended period of time spent at home quarantining meant that I would finally have time to train. Plus, I needed a diversion from the constant gloomy news. So, I decided to finally take on a marathon, reviewing a program from Jeff Galloway and heading out for four training runs a week, mixed with days of biking and other cross training, listening to podcasts and getting tips and advice from friends who had run the distance.
With gyms closed and the weather ideal as I trained in New Jersey and then in Colorado (after a summer move) I gained endurance and the confidence that I would complete the challenge. That raised my spirits during this dark time in human history.
Organizers of the event -- the Cary Greenways Tour in Cary, N.C. -- kept entrants informed about the likelihood of carrying out the race live, and things were looking pretty good as the October 3 date approached. Ultimately, the race was canceled as a live event, however. It was not surprising, yet I was still disappointed. Mainly because I had put in all that training for nothing -- no, I would not be running it virtually all alone on the roads of Colorado -- and that I had lost more weight and muscle than I had wanted to because I had redirected my training regimen away from weights and more toward the mileage.
Plus, many other people have been hit much harder than I have during the crisis of the pandemic. Even though my business has been hit hard with the cancellation or postponement of more than a dozen planned trips this year, I have my health and a great group of friends and family who have helped me stay engaged.
I set out on my training runs -- starting around May -- to get ready for the race. The program consisted of four runs a week, with a series of shorter runs, hill workouts, Sunday long runs and days mixed in for cross training (like biking or swimming). I did a lot of stretching, started eating more carbs, bought new Brooks running shoes to break in for the race and made a pair of Nabee compression socks part of my training uniform.
I probably would have offered to review them because these types of socks have always made sense to me for long-haul air travel. Compression socks help travelers have fresh and healthy legs and circulation by combating the dangers of deep-vein thrombosis and blood clots (which can be more than four times as likely to occur in frequent flyers).
Also, being older than 50, compression socks like those from Nabee are beneficial to aid proper circulation. I have a few varicose veins in the back of my calves, and my doctor recently recommended I think of compression socks as a therapeutic way to help with blood pressure regulation.
Aside from those two reasons, though, I was excited to have them for my training and ultimately race day. This period of time saw me take the longest runs of my life, spending hours on my feet. The Nabee socks kept my feet and lower legs feeling great, and I have to think they helped in keeping me injury-free while training.
They are tough to slip on and off, but once on, they offer a comfortable snug fit. Nabee compression socks are to be machine-washed on delicate, air dried and expected to last three to four years.
Nabee offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee on your first sock purchase if returned within 90 days.
With the marathon called off, Colleen and I still planned to go to North Carolina. The whole idea was to run a race and hang out with Colleen's brother Ryan and his wife, Kelly, for a fun long weekend getaway.
Even though the marathon was off, that didn't mean we were going to cancel our much-needed time with our family. So, we hopped on our first flight since the shutdown in early March. It was admittedly kind of strange to be back at airports after being away for so long -- and this for people who are used to regularly flying somewhere every week or so.
You know what we'll choose!
Until we can travel the world again safely, we'll find plenty of ways to get out and enjoy time with friends in safe ways, getting out in the fresh air and sunshine, knocking back craft beers on a patio, crushing tasty Carolina barbecue (for example) and finding new places to hike and explore.