I am 8 days out from the Portland Marathon. It makes me a little emotional, and I’d like to bottle this incredible feeling. Lacking the technology for such a maneuver, I’m attempting to find the words instead.
My first run of the year was on January 9th, far before the end of winter, and far before the snow melted. At that point I didn’t know where the year would lead, I was just a lady getting outside and shaking off cabin fever. I set a rather arbitrary goal to run 250 miles in 2013, so out into the cold I went.
Not long after, Mike challenged me to train for a 10k. I gave him the stink eye (he knows that challenges always get me moving!) and upped the ante to a half marathon. I started training on March 18, following Hal Higdon’s 12 week novice half marathon plan.
I kept up my training while traveling in DC, San Francisco, and Mexico.
I didn’t miss a single day of the training plan, and on June 21st, I ran my first half marathon.
And that was when I realized that distance races can be addicting. Sure, I couldn’t walk too well after, and I was utterly exhausted. But not 24 hours later I was contemplating making a serious commitment and training for a full marathon. I reasoned that I was already halfway there. Of course the second half is the more intense one, but I didn’t dwell on that. I signed up for the Portland Marathon the same day.
I started my marathon training plan on July 1st, after taking a one week training (but not running!) break. Training for a full marathon is a little bit insane. It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy – it’s like having another job after my work day is done. Apart from running there is cross training and the daily struggle to eat enough calories, as well as the mental challenges of distance running (which in my opinion is harder than the actual running). It’s a demanding sport, in more ways than I imagined.
My long runs are on Saturday and I am lucky enough to live somewhere that has beautiful scenery for those miles.
But as beautiful as some days were, most days were mile after mile on pavement in my town or along an empty country road.
And sometimes, to train to be faster, those miles were on track.
I’ve been running 4-5 days a week for 28 straight weeks.
I have run through humidity so thick it was like swimming (that was Austin), snow (that was this week!), rain, thunderstorms, hot days, cloudy days, days so windy I had to lean into it to move forward, and many days of perfect summer. I have turned down dinner invitations, said no to friends, and spent every night icing body parts. It’s been a sacrifice, and completely worth it.
And now, 560 miles later, I am mere days away from lining up with 10,000 other racers and running 26.2 miles with a bib on my shirt and pockets full of energy chews.
Pardon me while I wipe away a little tear. I am completely overwhelmed. I did warn that the subject made me a bit emotional.
So, wish me luck. Many of you have been supportive of my marathon goal on Twitter and Instagram. Your words have meant, and continue to mean, so much to me. All there is left for me to do is a few more short runs, keep my legs stretched, and think good thoughts for race day. The journey has been amazing.