Something I haven’t talked about much in the last few weeks is how my actual marathon training is going both physically and mentally. I go through the motions of writing weekly recaps but I don’t think that gives an accurate description of my mental thought process. With so much else going on, I have lost the sense of actually talking about how much I love running and how much despite everything, I have truly enjoyed this training cycle.
Mentally for the marathon the more 20 milers I do the more confident I have felt that I can finish 26.2 miles. In the last month I’ve gone from 20 milers scaring the pants off of me to actually feeling comfortable and having decent long runs. I’ve also figured out what has worked for me in regards to fueling.
If you were to ask me about a month ago my thoughts for the marathon I would have told you I’m nervous and honestly I don’t know. I was coming off of breaking my arm, no real long runs and my fuel was basically water.
After spending the last month researching and trying new things during runs I’m feeling a lot more confident. September 3rd was a random Tuesday and I was bidding Laura and Heather farewell (after running the Rock and Roll VA Beach half). The following day I started my move to Texas. In one month I’ll be in New York running a marathon. It’s hard to put that into perspective.
What have I learned in the last month?
Twenty milers no longer scare me. For the longest time in my running career I was scared to run more then 10 miles. I was scared to do it daily. I was scared to hit 60, 70 then 80 mile weeks. I learned by being smart that all of these dreams were achievable. I didn’t go from running 30 miles weekly to 70 but slowly worked my way up to higher mileage and defined myself as a runner. I never worked my way up to 20 milers but throughout this training cyle I have gone from 12 milers being long runs to daily mileage, 15 milers being medium runs and 20 milers being long runs but not scary. Ask Laura about the 20 miler we did in March together. I think I saw the light around mile 18.
If you had asked me after my first half marathon (1:41), in two years do you see yourself running a 1:24.49 and 80 mile weeks? The answer would be of course not. A year ago while feeling defeated with my cyst I would not have seen myself training for a marathon and dedicating the last 5 months to this cycle.
But I have learned so much in training for my first marathon. I have learned that dreams can be achieved and you cannot sell yourself short. When I was hit by a cyclist and initially thought my training cycle was over, I waited and realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The few days after I will be honest and didn’t want to talk to anyone. (By the way my arm is fully healed now). When I had a short knee issue (not injury because I didn’t let it get there) I waited and my training cycle is back on track now.
For me running is a beautiful thing. Each run daily is different. You could run the same route at the same time daily and you will never know how you will feel. Throughout this training cycle if I have learned anything, it’s nothing goes according to plan and you must face it head on and not stress.
As I sit here one month out will the goal of a 3:10 marathon I realize despite everything (moving, knees, arms, stress) I have truly enjoyed this training process and it is everything I have hoped my training cycle could be. I have let go of daily stressors and not only feel like a different runner but a different person.
Now I must use the last month to narrow in and focus on small features that will help me achieve finishing my first marathon and finishing strong. My goal has always been to finish my first marathon (which I’ve always wanted it to be NYC) strong but my goal is also to also finish in 3:10.
Will I be devastated if I don’t finish?
Will I be devastated if I don’t finish under 3:10?
No, of course not. Having never run a marathon it’s lofty to make a goal going into something you don’t know what to expect. Then again, 2013 has brought me plenty of things I haven’t expected.
Questions for you:
What is your favorite race to date?
How do you let go of daily stress?