Somehow, 18 weeks of training has come and gone. I completed 90% of the training plan but life got in the way the last several weeks. However, I didn’t miss a single long run knowing those were the most important.
As I am just days away from running Space Coast Marathon, I have so many thoughts running through my head and I thought now is as good a time as any to share them since this is an experience I want to remember for years and years to come.
- Training for a marathon is hard and a real commitment. While I knew going into it that I was dedicating 18 weeks of my life to the training, I didn’t really know to what extent that meant. Very early bedtimes, getting up at obscene hours of the morning, fueling for energy not just to eat, gaining weight, and sometimes running when maybe I didn’t want to.
- Through this commitment, however, I learned more about myself. By tackling a goal as scary as running a marathon, I was making the decision to not let that fear stop me. Yes, I was afraid of those long runs once I got over the half-marathon mileage, but I took it a week at a time and looked at each new mileage as a milestone.
- Having a support system during marathon training is so important. Hubby ran so many miles with me throughout my training, keeping me company on so many dark and early mornings so I wouldn’t be alone. On the long runs, he would either run or ride his bike and carry extra water and fuel for us. My friend Corinna also ran right along side me on the long runs. Caitlyn and Angelina also joined us for some of the long runs. Along with a handful of other running friends who cheered me along during my training. And my mom, who loves to tell everyone that I am running a marathon… I am so lucky to have had such support during all of my training.
- I was lucky to not have any injuries during training. This was high on my list of priorities. I never ran for time on any of my runs, I ran only for endurance. And in doing so, my times were exactly where I was comfortable with them being. As the mileage crept up to 17, 18, 19, and then 2o miles, I knew that that endurance would get me through it. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
- I never lost site of my love of running while training. I think this was mostly due to the support I had and just knowing that I was working towards a goal that scared me. After tackling the 19 and 20 mile long runs, I can say without a doubt that I am no longer afraid of running the marathon. I know that I can do it.
- When I signed up for this marathon, I did it with one goal in mind and that is to finish. There is a 7 hour time limit and one way or another, I know I will cross that finish line within that time frame. I will admit, though, that through my training, I have set a few time goals based on what I’ve done so far. And as suggested by my friend Beth, I am going to walk up to that start line with 3 goals in mind. The first, to finish. The second, to finish under 6 1/2 hours. And the third, to finish in under 6 hours.
I am so excited about this weekend…. The expo, the excitement I’ll feel the night before, lining up at the start line, and running those 26.2 miles with all my heart. I am sure that I will be a blubbering mess when I cross that finish line with hubby and my mom there to see me. No matter what my finishing time is, I will walk away a marathoner. And that, ultimately, is my goal.