I tell you what …

You don't know what you got in ya until you start running 35+ miles a week.

Nurse K and I just finished our second weekly 18-mile long run in the last uphill pull to the marathon, and boy howdy, it's starting to tell.

The legs? Ripped, and bruised. The knees? Not speaking to me. And there's a suspicious coloration under two of my toenails that speaks of nailbed trauma. You know when you've crossed over to the dark side of marathon mania where you consider losing toenails as a badge of burliness.

I swear, I never spent so much brain space on the concept of chafing as I do now. I've got lotion on the feet, Body Glide in unmentionable places, and even Neosporin on my - yes - bellybutton injury.
(It has to do with the hydration belt. Don't ask.)

Which leads me to reconsider the relative pros and cons of my current passions:

Running is in some ways better than knitting:
• After a wicked three-and-a-half-hour knitting session, I cannot snarf down a three-egg scramble with pancakes, followed by a dinner of Ben & Jerry's … and LOSE a pound.
• Seven hours a week of knitting does not improve my cardiovascular function, make my legs more trim and shapely, and let me eat twice what I normally could. (Sad. So sad.)

But then knitting is better than running:
• When was the last time you had a five-minute routine of applying unguents to safeguard from knitting chafing?
• The only way I'd get a bum knee from knitting or other fiberly arts would be too long of a stint on my single-treadle Louet wheel.
• No ice baths necessary!
• When I spend three hours knitting, I have a hat or a sock cuff or a sleeve cap to show for it.
• Knitting stints don't generate loads and loads and loads of laundry. (Dear lord, how can a girl sweat that much?)

Pardon this space if entries get sporadic and with fewer knit-a-licious photos.
I've got three weeks until we start to taper – for you non-runners, that's the glorious few weeks before a big event where you are required to (get this): run less, and eat more.

Chalk another one up for the running column.
During the taper, you may hear more from me here, as I get several hours a week of my life and brain back. For today, though, I'll leave you with the vision that gets me through miles 15-18:

(Rooftop garden outside the pool and spa area at the Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City. A quiet moment after soaking in the hot tub, before fondling and swatching this skein of merino-cashmere-oh-my-god-scrumptiousness.)