Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Reflections on my 26.2 Journey


 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 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.

 Running truly makes me happy.  It's my time to be alone in my own thoughts.  Training for 26.2 miles gave me an opportunity to test my stamina (mentally and physically) as I progressively ran further and further in preparation for the Quad Cities Marathon.  August was a month for the record books for me. I had my four longest runs ever: 15, 17, 18 and 20 miles, and combined with my shorter runs gave me a grand total of 114 miles run in 31 days.  Damn.

 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!


  1. Great job! I am also training for my first marathon (Steamtown Marathon on October 13th) and my 20 mile run is this weekend. Right now I can't wait to taper but we'll see once I get through this weekend. And I can relate to the resentment of a training schedule - I'm so over HAVING to run and am looking forward to going back to just running for the joy of it although I do have a couple of half marathons in the near future but for now I just want to get through this. Good luck with your marathon - and as I keep telling myself - TRUST your TRAINING!

  2. Kim, This brought me to tears. This is your day. You are going to be so happy you did the full. I am so proud of you and all you did to get the start line. Sunday is going to be amazing. xoxo