I remember this week last year. 7 days / 168 hours / 10,080 minutes / 604,800 seconds away from my very first marathon. Race day was oh so close and I was just as terrified. I had put in so much time. So much effort. So much dedication. To training. To fundraising. To preparing properly. Everyone told me to ignore the taper tantrums and trust my training. I did what I was told, and finished my first marathon with the biggest, proudest, teariest smile imaginable.
This year things feel a little different.
Though I have spent the same amount of time (16 weeks) “in training,” the time spent in preparation seems a little less productive. Initially, my focus was on avoiding re-injury. To do so, I decided to forego a formal training plan and train at my own pace. This “strategy” left me with a serious lack of dedication. Without a schedule on the fridge to check off my completed workouts, I slipped into a training mode that was anything but effective. I bailed on mid-week runs and (once again) failed to crosstrain as much as I had planned. The races I did run over the summer got done, but they were some of my worst. I was slow. I was ill-prepared. I left each one saying I would step up my game. And time after time, I would come up with another excuse (bad weather, too busy, Vegas vacations, work, etc.), leaving me with very lack luster mileage week after week.
My only saving grace this summer has been my dedication to long runs. Though I regularly wanted to chuck my alarm across the room when it went off at 430a, up I rose, down I drove, and many miles I ran. If I chose to skimp out during the week, the last thing I could do was slack on Saturdays. And the old adage is true, you never regret a workout, but always regret a workout missed. Thank goodness my Perfect Strangers were there week after week to keep me accountable.
This weekend I traveled to Michigan and was forced to do my last long run solo. Not something I was overly thrilled about, but something that had to be done. I did it last year and it turned out to be a great run. Friday was no different. I donned my kneesocks, my tunes, and my mojo, and knocked out 8.5 miles at a sub-9 min/mile. It felt amazing.
This morning I set out for another quickie, running just under 2 miles before meeting my mom for a walk. My pace? 8:35 min/mi. Not sure who this speedy girl is, but I welcome her return. It seems to be somewhat timely.
So 7 days / 168 hours / 10,080 minutes / 604,800 seconds from now, I will run my second marathon. The training may have not been the best, and I likely won’t run as well as I did last year. But I will get out there with the other 40,000 runners (and 5 of my Perfect Strangers!) and strive to achieve what many have not and will never do in their lifetimes. 26.2 miles, people. It ain’t for the weak. And I’m going after it twice. Prayers and good vibes welcome. Set your alarms.