I was reading through my old posts the other day to compare this marathon training attempt to the last. 26 days before the Kentucky Derby Marathon, I summarized my training experience as “yay, ok, zzz, boo.” I don’t believe that I can summarize the Myrtle Beach training in quite the same way.
For one thing, I pretty much skipped over the initial over-the-top enthusiasm and excitement entirely. So, no “yay”. In its place was a reaction better summarized as, “WHAT?!” As in, WHAT?! Megan, you can’t be serious. You really want 18 more weeks to train for something you might not be able to finish? You want 18 more weekends devoted to running and recovery? Weekends where, regardless of heat, cold, wind, rain, or other meteorological inconveniences, you will find yourself at Furman, running endlessly up and down the trail to Travelers Rest and around and around and around (and around and around) the Furman Lake? WHAT?! Seriously? Couldn’t you find a hobby that leads to fewer fantasies of sleeping for days on end and eating nothing but cheeseburgers? I can’t believe you’re doing this…
And that is where my train of thought stuck — “I can’t believe you’re doing this.” For most of my training, I’ve been squarely situated here, in a phase I’ll call “wow.” Wow, six weeks of training gone already? That’s crazy! It doesn’t seem like I should be this much closer to the marathon already. Wow, did I really just run 20 miles? That doesn’t seem right. Half the time I don’t even feel like I’m training for a marathon. Can I be in that good of shape? Wowwowwow…is it really only four weeks until Myrtle Beach? Um……….there’s no way this is happening. I can’t be running a marathon in under a month…right? It’s very odd that I can exist in such a state of denial while at the same time running up to 45 miles a week and putting in 18 or 20-mile runs on the weekends and losing five pounds. If nothing else, you’d think the sheer amount of running-related laundry that’s always in need of washing would clue me in: “hey, dummy! You’re running a marathon! Look at all these crusty ol’ socks!” But no.
The only thing that’s roughly comparable to my ’09 training is the “zzz” phase. Here too, however, I’ve noted a difference. Post-long-run recovery comas aside (did I mention that I slept for twelve and a half glorious hours last weekend?), the z’s are hitting me a little later in the game. Really, it’s just the past week that’s been a little rough, and I’d like to think that’s as much owing to external circumstances (waking up at 5:30 to go to the gym combined with swearing off soda — and hence caffeine — a couple of weeks ago) as any consequences from training.
I guess that’s pretty much it. I know that “what?!, wow, zzz” don’t have quite the same impact as “yay, ok, zzz, boo,” but not all of the changes have been bad. I think that knowing what to expect has allowed me to get through the training with far fewer ups and downs. Really, it’s been almost peaceful. So, while it appears that I’ll need to step up the mental preparation in the next couple of weeks to somehow shake the marathon denial and accept that I am going to be running 26.2 miles, physically I’m in as good — if not better — shape than I was in ’09. I have 22 miles to run on Saturday, and it is to be hoped that this final “long run” (the 12 and 10 miles the following weeks hardly counting as “long” at this point) will serve the dual purpose of getting body and mind ready for the grueling task ahead.
Let the countdown begin.