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Carbo Loading…Just in Case
I’ve run a total of nine marathons, not counting the one I dropped out of because apparently the race organizers measure your vomit and keep up with how much you lost during the event. I got booted from the course after the second liter. There was also this one marathon where I accidentally-on-purpose ran thirty miles instead of 26.2; there was really no use in renting a car to get myself from the hotel to the starting line and back, so I ran the two miles there, ran the event, and ran back to the hotel because how do you run 26 miles then complain about running four more? I’ve come in almost dead last in some marathons, and I’ve won my division in others. I qualified for Boston in one event, and there have been others where I almost crawled across the finish line.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: marathon running sucks. It’s tedious, it eats a few hours of your life (well, some people take a few hours…I took three hours and forty-one minutes at my best and just under six hours at my worst), and the training leading up to it can really take its toll on your body.
The only bright side to marathon running is the carbo loading. Unlike what non-runners might think about the process of gorging yourself on pasta the night before an event, carbo loading can actually take a week or more if you do it right. I do it over-right and go for about a month.
Sadly, the best thing ever happened to me: my writing career took off, and my running career fell by the wayside. I never did learn to stop carbo loading though, and that’s what took its toll on my body lately. That, and the fact that wine loading has always been a part of my life. I decided recently that it was time to get the old running shoes back on try to make it a part of my life.
Oh my god, it was horrible. I ran all of four minutes, telling myself the whole time that I used to do this for hours at a time on purpose. I saw spots swirling before my eyes and the sound of my own pulse drowned out my ear buds. There are rumors that I actually died for a couple of minutes before I was revived, but I can’t find anyone willing to confirm those.
The beautiful thing about my history as a kick-butt athlete is it more than prepared me for the world of writing. Writing is a marathon, too, and even though it’s not necessary to tape my nipples to write a book, I do it just because I think I should. And because I like it. But I digress.
Writing in any form takes discipline, training, and dedication. And carbo loading. But mostly wine loading. It takes a strong mind to make it all the way to the finish and not to quit, no matter how much you throw up. And at the end, you don’t even get a finisher’s medal, but you do get to brag to all of your friends and co-workers about how much you accomplished. More importantly, you know deep down that you did it.
That’s worth all the spaghetti you can eat.
Lorca Damon is the author of several YA books and two titles about her autistic daughter. Her most recent book, Knowing Autism, is available now.