It's finally here. Marathon weekend. My runs this week felt phenomenal. It took everything I had NOT to do a long run Wednesday- Don't over train! Screams every experienced marathoner. I have a really bad habit of thinking just one more run is going to get me to that magical place where the race will be easy- ha.ha. Races are never easy, and that's what makes them addictive. Proving to yourself that you can is the best feeling. The best drug. A natural high. I can not get enough!
The weather forecast looks optimal, more than optimal. Eerily perfect in that the stars are aligning kind of way.
I felt ridiculously strong in my work outs this week. I can tell my cardiovascular endurance has kicked into high gear. The taper weeks have been great for healing and resting those injuries that have plagued me throughout the fall. My plan going into the marathon is to trust the training and respect the distance.
Obviously, I have to have a pace plan. During my 20 mile run, I turned off my pace and just went. I know I could have done a better job with overall time had I paced that out correctly. My biggest fear, is that I will become caught up with the half runner's pace and make the second half of my race miserable. I can not allow that to happen.
I am going to start slow. I am going to pace this bad boy out. My plan thus far, is to meet up with a pace group at the start line, as I have issues pacing myself. When a great song gets all up in my ear telling me what a bad ass sexy chick I am, I always kick my pace up too high. Especially in those early miles. I'm not too proud to admit where I struggle and I need help with pacing. I'm hopeful running with an experienced group will help me out.
I can't wait to have this bad boy swinging from my neck.
All week long I've been pinching myself. Who am I? How did I get here? I wish I could go back and smack some sense into the old me. The girl who would drink red wine, eat buttered popcorn, and peanut butter M&Ms while crying into too tight fat day jeans about how unfair my lot in life was. If I'm being completely honest, I forget how I used to live my life. Occasionally, I'll see an old picture, or someone close to me will tell an old story, and I feel embarrassed about the way I was.
If someone had told me two years ago, that I'd be two days away from the start line of my first marathon, I would have laughed in their face. Me? Run? Good one!
When I started training for my first 10k in the fall of 2012, I came off the road after my first 4 mile run, and my first thought was How the hell will I EVER run 6.2 miles??? The distance seemed insurmountable...until I'd done it.
This time last year, I wasn't completely confident I'd be able to run a half marathon. Running the Marathon, the MARATHON, phew that was something the really intense people did. Those people lived and breathed fitness. Those people had been running their entire lives.
One of the most incredible things I've discovered on my journey to cover the distance, is to never underestimate what you are truly capable of. Before I started running, I was always selling myself short. I was always giving myself reasons why I couldn't do things. I found myself easily influenced by other people, because I didn't have confidence in what I believed in or what I wanted. I found it was easier to swim with the fish than grow legs and leap for the shore.
Sometimes I wish I didn't struggle with my weight. Sometimes I feel envious of others who seem as if they don't. It doesn't seem fair. Sometimes I'm jealous when things come easily to others, but are difficult for me. Why me? Why must I struggle? The pity party trap is an easy out.
If I had never had a significant amount of weight to lose, I would have never even come close to discovering how powerful, tenacious, and driven I truly am. When I decide I want something, I am going to get it. When someone tries to tell me I can't do something, it ignites a fire to prove them wrong. I am so grateful for my struggle, without the struggle, where would I be? WHO would I be?
I never would have discovered a passion for running. Now I feel as if I was born to be a runner. There's a reason why runners are tough people. Running is hard work, but the rewards in running transcend into all aspects of life.
Struggles show us our strengths. Had I not struggled attaining each new distance, I wouldn't feel grateful at the end of each run. Had I not known what it was like to fail, victory wouldn't be nearly as sweet. A struggle is good for a person. My struggles have made me incredibly strong. For that I will always be grateful for my journey and my story.
No matter what happens out there during those 26.2 miles on Sunday, I am proud. I don't care what my finish time is. I had the courage to arrive at the start of a marathon. If that doesn't speak volumes about me, then I don't know what does. 26 miles in my 26th year of life, let's do this thing!