I can't believe the Chicago Marathon is one week from today, in fact, one week from right now I'll be running. And probably wishing I were blogging instead. If you've spent anytime with me in the last four months, you know this training season has been long, painful and somewhat disappointing. I've had to cut back my mileage several weeks and cut back my goal for the race. I've spent lots of money and time in physical therapy trying to strengthen my core and prevent an injury. I've felt sorry for myself and thought about quitting more times than I can count. And sadly, I haven't been blogging about my training. I was pretty sure I didn't want company at my pity parties.
Thankfully, I have amazing friends, coaches and running mentors. Brandon, my PT, and Tammy, my running coach, have been telling me there is plenty of time. I wanted to believe them, but struggled to. Two weeks ago, I finished a 20 mile run. And, they were right, trusting the training, I realized I am ready. I didn't worry about time or anything else and just had a fun run. It was the first time I really, truly believed I would be able to finish this race. And what a difference that little bit of confidence has made!
Last weekend I ran the Women's Half Marathon here for the third straight year and had a blast. And best of all it was pain free! Last week and this week are both for tapering, dialing back the mileage. I feel like my mileage has been dialed back all of training, but I'm still doing only what the training plan calls for and not more (even though more is really tempting).
I think marathoning for the second time is harder than the first. This time I know what to expect. I know at mile 13 I will wish this were just a half...that I could be satisfied with only ever doing that. At mile 16, I will think there's not a chance in hell I can do 10 more miles. Then I will quickly push that thought out and force myself to read signs and look at buildings and anything else to keep me from thinking about what's left. At 20, I will be ready to curse the day I started running and every run since. At 22, I will think 4.2 miles away might as well be Australia. At 24, I will begin to think I might actually be able to do this. At 25, I will say just 1 more mile - no 1.2 more miles, damn it. At 26, I will pause (mentally, not actually) and just feel the last .2. And at 26.2, I will feel on top of the world and ready to slay dragons!
Training for and running a marathon is the hardest thing I've ever done physically & mentally. But it's also by far the most rewarding thing I've ever done for myself. It's amazing how strong and confident you feel at the end of 26.2 miles. Now I'm just going to keep telling myself this for the next week.