After last Saturday's 15 miler on the treadmill, a smile spread across my face. I realized that would be my last long run before the big 26.2 on November 6th. My mileage is tapering now and I feel as though it's all coming to an end. I've accomplished things in these four months of training that I never thought were in my realm of running possibilities:
- I never thought I'd run more than 13.1 miles -- After doing several half marathons, at the end of each one I thought there was no way I could take another step past that distance. Well now I most surely did!
- 20 miles seemed impossible when I first looked at the marathon training schedule - But I ran 20 miles three times over the course of my training. And you know what? It wasn't so bad.
- Training alone seemed a daunting task; I wasn't sure I could motivate myself enough - I still wouldn't recommend training alone, but I managed. The shorter weekday runs weren't so bad, but I really could have used a running pal for the long runs. I found creative ways to get around it. My husband and father jumped in my last few miles of my 20 milers - just when I needed them most, at the end.
- I thought I'd get stressed for time - Between being a full-time student, working part-time, and trying to enjoy the company of my husband, family and friends - I thought once September hit that training would become a chore more than an enjoyable act. You never know what you can accomplish until you're faced with the task.
Well, these are just some of my thoughts as my marathon training winds down over the next two weeks. The training alone has taught me perseverance, motivation, determination, and how to push toward a goal no matter what. Sure, there were days when my alarm went off and the last thing I wanted to do was run again. And of course, there were times I actually looked forward to my long run because I knew it would be a beautiful day or I was looking forward to listening to a great new mix on my iPod.
Now I am faced with the final challenge of this journey - the New York City Marathon. I'm nervous, excited, anxious, curious -- so many emotions all rolled into one. I'm sure I'll start having dreams any night now about what the marathon will be like; or nightmares that I've missed the bus to the race start on Staten Island. But no matter what emotions I feel or what dreams I have I know one thing -- I am ready as I'll ever be.