It really amazes me how different it has been training for this marathon (in 12 days) than training for the halfs last year was. I was very strict with the training program last year and didn’t miss one run. I was truly excited to get to race day and see what would happen. There were certainly some disappointments along the way, but looking back it seemed so much more productive than my training now.
Don’t get me wrong some of the struggles last year were real. I remember getting to my first (scheduled) 6 mile run and finishing pretty good and feeling ready to conquer the world. I had tried to run 5 and 6 miles before and failed miserably, but when the time came in my training I was ready and killed it. The next week though I died at mile 6 and had to walk most of mile 7. The week after that I died around mile 4 and walk a bunch until I got to 8. It took 3 more weeks of this mess and me being convinced 6 miles was my limit until I made some changes and made an 11 mile run around the bypass at my goal pace. I figured it out and I was ready again.
This year I have really struggled to find the time to stay on top of all the training runs. I realize they are longer, but I really think even if it would have been the same distances as last year I would have struggled to find time. I feel a lot busier now than ever before. I started out feeling pretty good though. The training would call for a 4 or 5 mile run and I could go out and breeze through it. It even jumped up to 10 or 12 and I could calmly cruise the the runs and go about my day afterwards. I was feeling pretty good even though I was missing some of my weekday runs because my longs runs were so easy.
Until I got to 16 miles. I find it ironic that it was 16 this year and 6 last year. 6 may be my unlucky number. The week before 16 I did my longest run ever, 15 miles, and ran the whole thing and had a pace that would make me happy at the race. The very next week I started knee issues and quit the run on mile 4. Over the next several week I tried to get going again and would have some minor success only to have to quit again or walk (alot). That all came to a head on my 18 mile run. The previous 3 runs had been quit due to knee pain and I knew I needed to get this one done. I plotted a course around the bypass (and everywhere else in Richmond) to get my 18 and I took off. 5 miles in I knew it would be a long day, the knee pain wasn’t gone. 8 miles in I was walking half the time. 14 miles in I was 100% walking. I told myself I would not quit so I didn’t. I walk all the way back to my car and drove home very defeated. Not what I was looking for just weeks out from my first marathon.
The next week was to be 14 miles and then 20. 20 is the longest run I am scheduled before the marathon and I knew this would be important. On the 14 mile day I went with a couple other Run Richmond guys to the Horse Capital Training Run so we could see the course. It was set up for a 10 mile run and that is what I planned to do. I fought a lot of pain at times, but it always went away. David and Tim pulled me along when it got bad and eventually it just left. I learned that even though it hurt bad it eventually would go away. That was a game changer for me. The next week I did my 20 mile run and I did walk some after 15 miles, but I was still running at the end. I hit a pace that would satisfy me on race day and I final felt I was ready.
Until two days later when I started a fever of 101.5. I have battled being sick and not up to running for over a week now. It’s knocked my confidence some, but I will push on in 12 days. I will finish. I will be proud of the fact that I did. This has been a learning experience from the beginning. A lofty goals comes with some pretty tough training. A marathon is no small task. You need to be ready mentally and physically to pull it off. I have no plans to run a second marathon, but I am so glad I am running this one. It has shown me the difference in the journey from a David that is committed and focused to a David that is trying to just get it done. The results are different and the journey getting there is different. That is the mental part of the training. You can’t overlook the importance of it.
I will be sure to figure out what is important in life and stay focused and committed to those things under any circumstance. I will still push through on the other things, but the results in the stuff that really matter is so much more important.