My last post, “Sometimes I am a Fox, Sometimes I am a Lion” was about what I do to get race ready. Coincidentally, I published this post at the beginning of a very busy summer/fall racing season, so outside of my journal, I’ve been on a bit of a writing hiatus. The last many days can be simplified to: Eat, run, work, run, eat, sleep. In the last six months, I’ve built up from an injury in the spring to my highest mileage week ever (the big 100+!) this November. I raced in Iowa, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Nevada anywhere from 1 Mile to the Half Marathon.
I’ve had good days, I’ve had bad days, but the long term goal since I’ve been able to train hard again was to get ready for my first marathon at the US Marathon Championships hosted by California International Marathon in Sacramento. Now, it’s only THREE DAYS AWAY.
In getting ready for the marathon, I’ve tried to just shut my brain off and do the training, no questions asked. I’ve found this has been easier to do than ever before because I’ve never run a marathon. I tend to overthink things, which is often to my detriment. Trying something new and listening with overwhelming trust in my coach has been freeing and has allowed me to focus on completing each day with diligence. I’ve been able to focus solely on this one goal race more than I ever have before. I’m sure after the race we’ll have lots of takeaways for next time, but right now I know I’ve done everything I can do to prepare myself for this one.
Am I at my best? I don’t know. I know I can run 24 miles. I know I can still close a workout in a 64 second 400 (even though I still get dropped by Andrew). But who knows what mile 20 of a marathon brings (lots of pain and mental struggle, to be sure)?! I can tell you I feel good, I feel positive, I have confidence in my preparation and training, and I know I’m ready to give it the best I have and find out what that means.
One thing I’ve struggled with in the last two years is always looking back at what I’ve been able to do and wondering how long it will take me to get back. I try to stay positive and remind myself it takes patience, time, and a lot of hard work. I remind myself I don’t want to “get back,” I want to move forward. I hope to God that eventually the work pays off, but you just never really know. Sometimes you do everything you possibly can, and your hopes are still just hopes. KEEP HOPING!
Regardless of result, the best part about the last few months has been preparing for an event that is a huge unknown for me and learning more about myself. Everything is new. I can’t compare workouts or paces because I have yet to find out what a marathon is really like. I know I still love running, I’ve enjoyed the training grind, and I’ve learned more about what my body can handle. For a few more days, I’m going to enjoy this sense of newness, the unknown of an event I’ve never done, and try to remember what it feels like to have big dreams without any real certainty of what my ceiling is.