You learn to expect the unexpected in a marathon.
From bonking at mile 18 on your first attempt to searching for a portapotty at mile 25 to avoiding spectators who leap out in front of you without warning, after a while you learn to … ahem … take it all in stride.
Except nothing prepared me for the moment when I crossed the start line in Burlington. After weeks of training and tapering, of doing everything by the book and exactly the same way as ten previous times, my legs felt like concrete. From the second I crossed the timing mat, lifting each foot off the ground required what seemed like a superhuman effort.
Instead of feeling that adrenaline surge and fighting the urge to go off like a sprinter, I felt dead from the hips down. Instead of enjoying those carefree early moments and soaking in the energy of the crowd, I immediately went into the kind of survival mode that I usually reserve for the last ten miles.