So, in-between scooting off to different states to run (or attempt to run) some of my 50 in 50 races, I have been training for the Pittsburgh Marathon. And as marathon training has a tendency to do, it has become my life for the past several months. Now it is coming to an end. I have 6 days, 3 runs, one expo, several friends in from out of town, and lots of carbs before the big day, and that is IT! Yet, when asked how I am feeling about the race, I am not sure how to answer. I feel ______ about it. Yes, blank. Maybe I am blocking out all the pain from the last one, or the fear of not finishing well. Maybe I just have too many other things going on. Maybe I'm really focused and have marathon game face (and mind). Or maybe I am not ready to see it all end.
You see, I decided during this training that this was going to be my last marathon. Yeah, it's only my second, and I never even really believed myself while saying it, knowing that I'd likely do 2 or 3 more in my lifetime-- but I really did mean that it would at least be my last for a while. Training is brutal- ravaging your body and consuming your time. But it is also a luxury. I have the luxury of a healthy body that can be trained to run. I have a schedule that allows for large chunks of time to be spent outside. I have wonderful friends and family who support me. I know I must be thankful. And I think I will be sad to move on.
I have always believed that the best things in life are often the hardest. It is through challenging ourselves that we learn and grow. Through pushing ourselves that we become stronger. And while we also learn by knowing when to say enough is enough, sticking to a discipline can be really good.
Maybe what I really feel is similar to when I am close to finishing a great book. I can't wait to get to the end to see what happens, but I know I'll feel a let-down when I close the back cover. But there are always more books to read, and there will always be more races to run. Many of which will not require 20 mile prep-runs.
Here is a cool video that moves through the race course: check it out and you too can experience the Pittsburgh Marathon- in 4 minutes and 22 seconds...without training!
Stay tuned for a post-race post...