Mile Zero

It’s been said that the hardest challenge a runner faces comes somewhere around mile 20 of a marathon. There’s truth to that. But in my experience, an equally tough spot is what I call Mile Zero. And even worse, the latter pops up several grueling times a week.

Mile Zero begins when the alarm goes off, usually between 4:30 and 5:00am. Various activities follow – Select clothes and shoes that match the outside conditions … Apply Body Glide … Choke down that banana, half a bagel and sport drink. Each action carries with it a decision: “Do I really want to do this, or can I go back to bed?”

Next comes the defining moment, the start of the actual run. Those first few stiff steps are going to hurt. Ugh.

Transitioning from half asleep stupor to fully alert athlete occurs gradually. Before long, mercifully, the good stuff kicks in. Like the familiar stride, the regular breathing, friendly conversation if the workout is being shared with others, and that wonderful euphoria that you just have to feel to understand.

Mile Zero was brutal, but worth it. I’ll try to remember that tomorrow.

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