Crossing the Line

What drives marathoners?

Crossing the Line

 Not in the literal sense.  You may think a blog about training for a marathon titled “Crossing the Line” may be about the joy/ relief/ elation/ exhaustion of actually running across the finish line, but Im not talking the literal sense.  Im talking about figuratively crossing the line; doing something so outrageous that you would normally think it to be…well, outrageous. 

Im a little worried that Im crossing a line that I clearly drew in the proverbial sand when I started training for this lyric little road race – that line that separates athletes (like me 20 years ago) from runners (like me now). 

I used to hate running.  Running was the necessary evil of playing sports.  The reason I ran was to score a goal or a point or to stop someone else from

"Marathon" Mark Kastrud

doing so, the running part was just a painful means to the end.  Running for the sake of running seemed trivial, frivolous and downright boring.

I even managed to maintain my disdain for running through a largely inactive period in my post-collegiate life when I was clearly no longer an athlete but resisted the admission.  I did things like play pick up basketball in Somerville with guys who sometimes didn’t make it to games because they had been hit by the Orange Line (that’s a true story perhaps for another blog).  I played over 30 lacrosse until my ego realized what my legs had not yet.  But truth be told, this was the transition period from being an athlete to being…well, I wasn’t really sure.  Until now.  I think it’s the transition to being a runner; to running for running’s sake; to running with no other purpose than to keep putting one foot in front of the other fast enough, mind you, that it’s not walking. 

Ive been training for the marathon for about 6 months, ever since almost drowning in Duxbury Bay during a sprint triathlon (thank God the water never got more than 6 feet deep or Id still be out there) thus launching my land-based post-athletic career. At times it has been tremendously rewarding (like realizing that running for the Liver Team means I am helping people who are not as blessed as I have been with decent health); modestly successful (like finishing the Hyannis half marathon in 7 minute 30 second average pace); and oddly enjoyable (weekend long runs are a good chance to catch up with friends). 

My perspective has changed such that I now look forward to long runs of 16 or 19 miles on the weekends; a 13 miler seems like a “short” long run; I’ve been tempted to use the phrase, Im doing “an easy 15” today.  It’s a bizarre transition and frankly one that makes me a bit uncomfortable. 

I’m doing 21 miles on Saturday from Hopkinton to Boston College with the Liver Team and all the other charity runners.  We start at 8:30am.  If you’re around Route 135 in Framingham or Natick, Route 16 in Wellesley or Comm. Ave in Newton Saturday morning, come out and cheer us along.  Just don’t call me a runner! 

Mark Kastrud is the Vice President and General Manager of the Boston Cannons.  He will running as part of Liver Team in the Boston Marathon.  Over 42,000 people in the United States die each year as a result of Liver Disease.  To sponsor Mark in his fundraising effort you can click on the link below.

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