Well, I have reached the final days leading up to my first-ever marathon. That's correct, MARATHON (it
still feels surreal typing that or even thinking it). Training for 26.2 miles has really been an eye-opening endeavor. I've trained for many half marathons, and that is an entirely different ball game. With half marathons, I didn't experience many of the not-so-lovely side effects until after race day. Training for a full marathon, though, was like running a half marathon almost every weekend...so there were many weekends attired in my race wear and wool socks.
And, the icky toe nails made their appearance.
I noticed my pace gradually slowing down as the weekly long runs became longer. I was able to finish most of the long runs, but at a slower pace than I was accustomed to. And that is a good thing. The training runs are all about going the distance, not setting PR's.
I ran a lot of hills. I don't particularly love hills, but I do love the results I get from them. That feeling of total bliss as you cross the summit is amazing, it totally makes all the sweat and effort of getting there worth it.
Then, let's not forget that dreaded 5 letter word most runners hate: TAPER. Actually, I welcomed the taper with open arms. Although I felt a great deal of pride and sense of accomplishment from all of the August miles, I was starting to resent the training. I love running, but I do not like having it "scheduled" and mapped out for me. It is too regimented for my liking. It makes me feel like a slave to the schedule, and that does not make me a happy runner for very long. So, Taper Time came at a most opportune time for me.
Of course, with the taper comes the taper craziness. Restlessness. Eagerness. Anxiety. Hallucinations.
Through all of the training and tapering, one constant in my running life was the support of numerous fellow runners, many of whom were also training for marathons themselves. I can not thank these Virtual Running Buddies enough for all their advice, support, encouragement and numerous messages sent back and forth. I have not yet met any of these friends face-to-face, but we have formed solid friendships that I will treasure forever.
My day is almost here. Soon, I will be able to call myself a marathoner. Despite all the blood, sweat and (minimal) tears, it has been a great journey. I don't expect to have an exceptionally fast finish time, but I will cross the finish line a winner for having gone the distance. 26.2 miles, here I come!
**These eBibs are some I made on the I <3 to Run site. Head on over and give it a whirl yourself!