Oh, dear! It’s 2 more weeks until go time! Last thursday I got an email from Corrigan Sports letting us know we were 22 days out from marathon day. It’s quite funny, really. Last month I was complaining to my husband that I felt like marathon training was never going to end and how I was reaching the end of my ability to tolerate hours long training runs. Suddenly now I’ve run my last long run for the training cycle! Distance is going down from this day forward and the marathon will be here in 2 short weeks. Now it feels like it’s going by quickly. Crazy how that happens, huh?
Training has been going really well. I think out of all the scheduled runs I’ve only missed one. One! That’s huge! I usually miss at least 4-5 in the course of a training plan. I am so happy I’ve been able to stick to the plan. Granted, I did end up modifying some of the workout in the sense that I dropped the cross-training on Monday. Between my children and the job search I’ve been feeling a bit burned out. Dropping that Monday workout and taking the extra rest day has helped tremendously. I feel much more refreshed and ready to tackle the run now. I do try to get some sort of unofficial exercise that day so it’s not a total bust (I walk more those days).
I felt as though my pace had plateaued throughout the summer. Suddenly, I wasn’t able to hit sub 8s as often. I felt as though I was dragging. I knew that the heat and humidity was a factor but I also didn’t want that to be an excuse for me to fall back on. Then a few weeks ago after my daughter started school I realized what the issue may have been. I might just be too tired in the morning to push myself. The difference between my pace in the early morning (4:45 AM) versus after school drop off (8:15 AM) is pretty significant. On average, I pace about 9:10 in the early morning throughout my run or during the first few miles of my long run. After drop off, I’m pacing about 8:00 throughout the entire run…while pushing my son in the stroller! I do end up getting an extra hour of sleep when I wait until 8 AM to run. I also have a small cup of coffee and breakfast beforehand. I’m sure that’s what making a huge difference. Thankfully, I have the coffee/breakfast routine in place for race day anyway. It’s just interesting to see the difference myself for once.
Long runs have been surprisingly refreshing. The last time I trained for a marathon 2 years ago I really dreaded the long run. 2+ hours of running?! I groaned at the thought because I knew I wouldn’t be going fast and it would get painful at the end. This time it’s been amazing. I wake up ready to roll out and get it done. It does take me a few miles to hit my groove (we are talking about 4 AM wake ups for me when I do these) but when I do, man, do I feel unstoppable. I don’t feel the need to stop for refueling, hydrating, or because of soreness/tiredness. In fact, I get annoyed when I have to stop for traffic :-D. I often feel like I’m flying and have found that I am no longer “feeling it in my muscles” during or after the run. “Runger” is still an issue but who wouldn’t be hungry after 15+ miles? Donut shops are torture during that time, lol. Finally figuring out how to effectively fuel/refuel and how to pace myself this time around has made a huge difference. This is the first time I’m confident going into the marathon distance that it won’t be an excruciating experience.
I know this isn’t a super helpful entry as I am just recapping how it’s going so far but I did want to capture this moment so I don’t forget that actually finishing a plan is possible. I am still in awe that I’ve stuck it out this long.
I’ve entered gradual taper mode now. Man is it exciting! I’m so happy to not have to run 20 miles again. I finished 2 of them during this plan and that was plentiful. I have a nice 12 mile for Sunday and an even shorter one the following Sunday. I cannot wait for this to be over! It’s safe to say I’m ready for a break from training and am glad that the end is near. Marathon training sure is a journey and I’m so glad it’s coming to a close. I want my mornings to sleep in (well, sleep in as much as I can with 2 kids) back.