Friday, November 15, 2013

Three. More. Weeks!

December 7th is almost here, ya'll! That might not mean much to any of you, but to me it means the end of 18 weeks of hard training. I'm happy, and excited, and anxious, and almost ready. Almost. I'm not done training quite yet, but I'm nearing the end. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! 

Training so far: 
Days: ~55
Miles: 361.7

Training to go:
Days: ~12
Miles: ~70

It seems like I just started training for this thing the other day. These past 15 weeks have flown by, as I'm sure the next 3 will, as well. It still seems so surreal. If you would have said two years ago (this month), when I ran my first 1/2 marathon, that I'd be running a full in the near future, I would have laughed in your face and probably told you to shut up. Well, never say never. 

Chris and I after my first 1/2 marathon, probably shortly after saying I had no interest in ever doing another.

I haven't blogged about my training because, honestly, there hasn't been a lot to say. My weekly mileage amped up, which took some getting used to. I pretty much come home from work and run out the door in less than an hour. I rarely have time for CrossFit during the week, which I don't let bother me. Training comes first right now, and I know I'll be able to attend more regularly in a couple weeks. I'm running longer distances than I've ever run before, and it's been fun reaching those new milestones. It really wasn't until I hit 17 miles that I thought, "Whoa. I am no longer "half" crazy. I'm only 9.2 miles away from 26.2; I can do this!" Then I hit 18 & 19, and thought the same thing. Training hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be, physically. Maybe it's because I haven't strayed from my training plan, but once or twice. Maybe it's due to CrossFit. I don't know, but I'm relieved my training has gone so well. I consider myself very lucky to have not been injured. I've been sore, and had some little aches and pains, but no serious injuries. I started running in my Adidas Adistar Boosts back in September, and I think they have helped a lot with my hip/knee/IT band issues. They have held up well with all of this mileage, and will take me across the finish line, too!

20 Miles:
This weekend I have my first (and only) 20 miler - my longest-of-long marathon training runs, and I'm really not all that nervous about it. I just keep telling myself "It's only one more mile than you did last week." The worst part of these long runs has been waking up and getting out the door. Once I'm out the door, I tend to zone out and forget I'm even running - even if it's for 3 hours. All of my runs - short and long - have been by myself. It hasn't been easy; I've woken up frustrated at times, because I didn't want to go at it alone, but I'm actually proud to have done this on my own. I've proven to myself that I don't always need that extra push like I did back when 8-10 miles seemed long. I've learned to push myself, both physically and mentally. I can tell myself to keep going; I can pep-talk my way through the hard times. This training has caused me to grow tremendously as a runner, and I've learned a lot about myself along the way. The mileage doesn't scare me. There are times when running long seems easier than racing a 5k. Of course it's nice to have that outside support - I love the times Chris has come out to meet me on his bike (even though it's been because I should have already been back home, and he was starting to worry) ;) - it's helped push me those last couple of miles, and gets my head out of the clouds, but there's something about proving to myself that I can do this on my own that makes me feel like I've accomplished something special.

Being a stubborn and competitive runner, I obviously wanted to set a goal for my first marathon. To finish strong, and not fall apart at the end, is a goal, but to break 4 hours would be amazing, too! Unfortunately, that is not the kind of training I've put in. It's all going to come down to that stupid, so-called "wall." I've heard all about it, read about, dreaded it, and honestly it doesn't scare me as much now as it did prior to my training. Every long run I've had has felt good. Not great, but good. The second half of every run has felt better, and been faster, than the first - not on purpose, but it's just worked out that way. I credit a lot of that to the core and leg strength that I get from doing CrossFit. Before CrossFit I had runner legs. Now, I have runner legs and CrossFit legs. And they. are. strong. They don't tire as quickly as before, and they aren't as sore after long runs. However, I know after the race it will be a completely different ballgame.

I have to say, I'm looking forward to tapering. I've been battling a cold/sinuses/allergies off and on for about 3 weeks, now. It hasn't really affected my running, but I am feeling drained. If I'm still feeling icky next week I will probably find my way to the doctor to get this cleared up. I refuse to be sick on race day!

While my mileage goes down these next 3 weeks, I have a feeling my anxiety is going to ramp up. I have a lot of emotions going through me. I'm anxious, but also really, really excited to prove to myself I can do this. I'm excited to be able to run for such a great cause. Don't forget, I'm still trying to raise money for the children at St. Jude! If you feel inclined to donate, please do so! Every little bit helps!

A marathon no longer seems like this far-fetched, out-of-reach goal that it used to seem like. It's becoming more real, and it's becoming more attainable. After all, after Sunday's 20 miler I'll only be 6.2 miles away from trading in my 13.1 magnet for a 26.2. Priorities, people.