It's not "fun" by any means, but I've come to enjoy seeing the "regular" cyclists, walkers, and runners on the Metropark path. Seeing the seasons change so up close and personal from winter to spring, and then summer to fall has been really interesting. Marathon training has allowed me to run on trails I'd never used before, listen to hours upon hours of podcasts, and see some interesting people, animals, and things along the way.
Things I will not miss about marathon training: knee pain, having to turn down drinks and certain foods the day before a long run, looking at the same old scenery for mile after mile, having to spend calories on GU and Gatorade, having to wear a hydration belt while running, and using races as "training runs" for a bigger race.
My last long run today was eight miles. Eight miles is a relief to run after the 18- and 20-milers! But today, while I was running, I thought about the first time I ran eight miles. I'm sure I've probably written about this before, but eight miles was a huge milestone run for me.
I was following a 15K training program that was 10 weeks long. I wasn't training for a race, but I was a beginner and wanted to build up my mileage. On week nine, I was scheduled for an eight-mile run. It was an extremely hot day in August, and I had to run in the heat of the afternoon (the only time I could get away). I couldn't believe just how HOT it was, and I wanted to quit so badly.
I was really struggling, and just wasn't sure if I would make it. I didn't carry water with me, and I felt like I was really overheated. At mile 7.5, I had to pass by my house (where I would circle the block and arrive back home at the 8-mile mark). My vision was blurry, I could barely put one foot in front of the other, and I was actually worried about my health--so I quit. I only had a half-mile to go, but I know I made the right decision.
A week later, I was visiting my brother in Minnesota. He said that there was a nice trail along the Mississippi River where I could run, and I decided to run my eight-miler there. The weather was nice (still hot, but it was morning and not horribly hot--and it was along the river, which had a breeze).
I just wasn't feeling it that day.
Maybe it was the traveling, and vacation-mood I was in, but I ran about six miles before calling it quits. Attempt #2 was another fail. I was getting frustrated, and starting to think that I would never be able to run eight miles.
When I got home from my brother's, I went to the store and bought a piece of carrot cake. I had been craving carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for MONTHS. I put it in my refrigerator, and told myself that when I ran eight miles, I could eat it. That got me motivated ;)
I went to bed at 9:00 that night, to rest well so that I could wake up early the next morning (before it got too hot outside). I was determined to run those eight miles!
Third time was a charm.
|August 2010, my first 8-miler|
|After my first 8-miler|
I kind of miss being a "beginner" runner, because everything was so new. Every distance was new, I was bettering my pace with almost every run, and I had no idea how far it was from my house to the main road, or the mail box, or around my block. I remember when a 12:00/mi pace was my goal, and when I reached that, a 10:00/mi pace seemed unattainable, yet I reached that goal, too.
After my marathon, I'd like to go back to the basics, and start fresh. I can't wait to have an "easy 3 miles" on the schedule, and a long run that doesn't get into the double digits. I want to run hard and fast, just to see where my body stands now. I've been running long and slow since January!! When I do runs on the treadmill, it will be nice to be done after watching a half-hour sitcom, instead of a full-length movie ;)
A week from Sunday, all of this training will come to a head when I run the Detroit Free Press Marathon. And then I am declaring myself a "beginner" again--and I'm so looking forward to it!
I hope this post doesn't sound whiny, because that's not my intention. I'm just trying to describe how marathon training coming to an end is bittersweet, and how this marathon is almost like closing a chapter of my life. I've come so far as a runner the past couple of years, and today's run really helped me to absorb all of it.
I've become the stereotype that I used to hate--the "results not typical" person who lost 100+ pounds and is now running marathons. BAHAHA, I never would have foreseen this.