It was almost 17 weeks ago that I first started filling in those blank boxes on the training chart that hangs on my fridge. I remember thinking that Marathon Day seemed so far off.
And it was. Months away, plenty of time to train and become "a marathoner," right?
Somewhere in my mind I was sure that I would be magically transformed into a so-called marathoner. Not necessarily in appearance or by any checklist, but I figured something about me would change. There would be some way of knowing that I was ready to enter this new elite category.
All of those miles and weeks later, I'm still waiting for the sign. Truthfully, I feel pretty much the same as I did on Day One.
That isn't to say I haven't improved my endurance, my fitness level or the confidence in my running ability. Although I don't think any first-time marathoner ever feels completely at ease as the race day rapidly approaches, I know that I've put the training in and am as ready as I can be right now.
(As a side note, my calf still isn't perfect, but it's much better and I'm pretty sure I can make it through the miles. At least I'll know for sure tomorrow, when I tackle my last long run - an 18-miler.)
I feel ready, sure. I just don't think of myself at a "marathoner."
But in 16 days, that's what I'll be: a marathoner. (I'm mentally crossing my fingers, knocking on wood and all of those things as I write that. A lot of things can happen in 16 days.)
It's funny how 16 days can seem just around the corner. But it can also seem a lifetime away.
There's part of me that just wants to get this training over with and put it behind me. I want my Saturday mornings back. I don't want to worry about waking up at the crack of dawn with double-digit miles in front of me or having to monitor the weather on a minute-by-minute basis.
I don't want to worry about mapping out routes, planting water stops or battling daylight on either end of the day. I don't want to worry about "having to" run.
I don't want to worry about the 26.2 miles ahead of me on race day and whether I'll make it. I don't want to worry about all the unknowns that swirl around in my brain when I think of Nov. 1.
Those are the times when I wish the 16 days would pass quickly.
But when I think of the fact that I'll actually be running a marathon in 16 days, my stomach does flip-flops.
Can't I squeeze in a few more long runs? Can't I do some more cross training? Can't I drop five pounds? Can't I have another month or so to get ready?
And there are the things I'll miss about training -- long runs with Shawnna, never-ending support from TC, mid-week runs by myself, a focus on cross-training, reaching new milestones, pushing myself and working toward a goal.
As I read that list, I realize most (if not all) of those things can be easily incorporated into my post-marathon life. It's a good thing because I've already got 2010's goals and challenges mentally lined up.
Let's just get past this one first.
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