Don’t even – how is it that a third of this year has already passed? When I first started running it felt like time slowed down, like I somehow gained extra hours and experiences in each day. And it’s true that so much more happens in a one-hour run than does in one hour of normal life, but sadly I don’t feel the same extension of time as I did a few years ago. Which means that I constantly feel shocked at the realisation that it’s now May, I’m officially a year older, my 26.2 marathon challenge is now complete…
Yep, April was a big month… mostly because of the BOSTON MARATHON! The race I’d been living, breathing, thinking and dreaming about for years happened in a whirlwind of blue and yellow, and I feel very lucky to have had the experience. The race was followed by a magical week’s holiday in Boston and New York City to celebrate my birthday, which we both enjoyed so much.
So, Boston. I’m not actually going to recap the race here, because I wrote down all about my Boston Marathon experience in its own post. In short: despite me targeting Boston as my ‘A-race’, I underestimated the hills and after a quarter of the race decided to slow down and enjoy the experience instead. I’ve had some really great feedback on the post, so go read it ?
The city of Boston too was such an interesting place to be. I’ve never visited before, and hadn’t realised just how old and historic it is – and how proud Bostonians are of that. We went on a Duck Tour and the guide kept telling us about ‘the oldest this’ and ‘the oldest that’ – anything he could lay claim to. Architecturally there are a lot of red-brick buildings which Sye said reminded him of England (I guess they do call this area of the US ‘New England’), but also a lot of parks and green spaces. One highlight was going to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park, and then later getting to actually walk around the pitch.
In contrast, New York City is shiny and new and full of skyscrapers and busy people. But not everywhere: we stayed in Brooklyn and one morning went for a long walk up through Williamsburg where we passed throves of Orthodox Jews burning their leavened food on the first day of Passover. There were fires every ~500m up the street, carefully watched over by a member of the NYPD. I’ve never seen anything quite like that.
We walked and walked and walked through so many different neighbourhoods of NYC, and unlike the last time I visited in 2014, I began to get a real feel for the city. Each area is quite distinct, and it’s not all just big buildings and money-money-money. I loved areas like the Lower East Side and Nolita, or watching people perform in Washington Square Park. There was an electricity in the air, which Sye and I both got swept up in.
On my birthday we went and saw Puffs!, a play set in the Harry Potter universe, which was a definite highlight of the trip. I love HP anyway, but the show was hilarious and brilliantly retold the story from the perspective of the forgettable ‘Puffs’ (Hufflepuffs). We roared with laughter and loved every minute of it. If you get the chance to see it (it’s also on in Sydney!), I really recommend it.
The 26.2 marathon challenge has come to an end, with the big bang that was Boston Marathon. It seems a bit surreal; I’ve been working on this goal for the last 3.5 years, to the point where it became totally normal to just be running a marathon basically every month. For many of them I probably didn’t need the challenge to want to sign up, it was just the initial kick to tell myself that it’s OK to go against the general advice and do multiple marathons back-to-back(-to-back). The challenge let me travel to so many great places and I met some really interesting people too. Mostly though, it was a challenge of determination: just keep going and it will be complete. Much like a marathon, one step then another and the finish will come.
And here it is, and I will be celebrating for a while!
My wonderful parents had a medal and trophy made for me to commemorate the challenge. It means so much that they had those custom-created, and also that I have a lasting momento of the last few years. I’ve also been thinking of getting a tattoo to signify the accomplishment, but nothing has been decided yet.
If you’re not up to speed with the challenge, head over to 26marathons.com (my other website) where you can find recaps of all 26.2 marathons run before age 26.2.
April in kilometres:
1 – 7 April: 48.4km
Best run: Sye cycling next to me for the last MP session, where I finally nailed the pace
8 – 14 April: 25.4km
Best run: Shake-out run in Boston, exploring the back streets
15 – 21 April: 56.8km (marathon on the Monday)
Best run: Boston Marathon! (bonus: running in Central Park)
22 – 28 April: 30.8km
Best run: Bois de Boulogne parkrun, surprising 21:56
29 – 30 April: 12.7km (Mon – Tues)
Best run: Found an urban farm on one of my easy routes ?
The weeks around a big marathon are typically light, as first you taper and then recover post-race. Although the race itself didn’t go quite as planned, I still took a good 10 days before getting back into training, and was rewarded by my legs feeling nice and springy.
Other than Boston/NYC/USA/26.2 challenge/my birthday, there hasn’t been a whole lot more going on this past month. Looking through my photos though, there is one other thing worth mentioning…
There’s a puppy in my office! Someone got a new puppy and brings him to work a few times a week and we all get to cuddle this adorable soft dog and it’s just the greatest thing ever. His name is Pacino, shorted to Patch, and I can’t get enough of him. ?
In the interest of diversity (not), all of this month’s reads come from the New York Times oops! It wasn’t on purpose, I just find they write really good, diverse content, and it’s what comes through my radar. There’s not many links this month either because I was too busy enjoying my holiday #sorrynotsorry
If you’ve ever put off doing anything you have to do in favour of doing absolutely anything else (hello, super long to-do list), check out this analysis of procrastination, which says it’s more about emotions than time-management issues.
Sye sent me this hilarious/odd look into the Finnish sport of hobby-horse riding, complete with dressage competitions and prize money. It’s bizarre, but I’m also of the opinion that you should do whatever makes you happy.
I’ve been living in Paris for 16 months now and I still have problems being understood when I speak French. Sometimes I think things are improving, and then a waiter takes one look at me and switches into English and everything is back to square one. So I enjoyed Pamela Druckerman’s recount of her own experience trying to learn the language later in life.
Bonus: While in the USA I was reading Almost French, which is the delightful story of an Aussie moving to Paris for love. So much of what is written in the book hit close to home, and I was forever reading paragraphs out-loud to Sye. Well worth a read, if just to understand a little more what it’s like to live here.
After this intense first third of the year, May is definitely a down-month for me. I’ll be relaxing, spending time with friends, and eating & drinking enough to make up for all the salads and sparkling water that I had prior to Boston. I will still be training (of course) but adding swimming and cycling into the mix because… it’ll be triathlon season soon! After a year out and the marathon focus, I’m looking forward to the swim-bike-run again.