I make a lot of Pearl Jam references. Not intentionally or anything, that's just the way it goes. I've been silent, as you can see, but not for lack of activity. I actually got into a pretty steady state of making sure I was running at the appropriate times, that I lost that sense of needing to be motivated. That was how it worked at first, you know? I would write, assume I was being read, and then keep going so that whoever was out there could make sure that they saw this thing through from start to finish. While I have been absent, I have also been learning. This marathon business is not particularly fun (yet) or comfortable (why would it be?), so I did not exactly know how to cover it as things were moving forward. Now that I've got a little perspective on the matter, I can probably more accurately examine and discuss what has been happening in my little corner of the world.
There are several things I've figured out on my own from preparing for Marathon #1. First and foremost of which is there is no guarantee there will be a Marathon #2. I don't know if I ever felt that way training for that first Half Marathon, but I never seemed as overwhelmed at times as I have with this marathon training. I've had a two week break at the end of November through the beginning of December because I had thrown my entire body out of whack. Seriously, my chiropractor told me that my right side of my entire body was so tensed up it raised my hips by nearly half an inch!?! Think about that disparity in your posture, and then imagine running 6-7 miles with it. Exactly. I was really hitting a good stride, too. But, I'm at the point that the time off didn't hurt, and if anything, was probably needed. That's the most time I've had off from running in 20 months, so a little bit of extended healing was probably in the cards. I've been more proactive since then with daily stretching, posture checks, yoga, and core exercises to make sure that I'm not losing any more strength. So far it is working. I also decided to break the mold and try a new brand of shoes out during this stretch, and that has been a new experience. Probably should have just bought one more pair of Nike's and ridden the storm out, but I broke away into some Brooks (good shoes) and so far, I'm thinking that was, if nothing else, a tough thing to adapt to mentally. They're just shoes, as I tell myself, so just get over it and run.
Second, and this is probably the biggest one, is to not plan your first marathon, or really any marathon for that matter, in the winter time unless you want to run in the cold every day. Working overnights has given me two options, neither of which is great. I can get in long runs, 20-mile type runs, when I get off of work, which puts me on the pavement at around 07:30 AM right after a shift. Since I'm usually up by 03:30 or 04:00 PM, this would be equivalent to the regular day job person going out for their run at 11:00 PM or so. I'm a little tired after work, as most people, except I've already had a full day of stuff before work. It isn't a bad thing or anything, it just takes some getting used to. So, either run when I get home, or sleep and run before work, which is fine for certain runs because I can just hit the treadmill. The whole getting dark at 5:00 PM thing is a real drag as far as this is concerned. Summer and spring running when the sun is still out is going to be much easier, and that factors into the choosing a run that is either in fall, or at the end of spring, because at least that way, I'll be able to get in some evening runs outside before the sun goes down.
The third thing is that there really is no reason to be so competitive, at least right now. I can barely hit a 20-mile run without stopping every 10 minutes to walk, so how on Earth can I be so concerned about hitting a finishing time? I was, but I'm not anymore. This thing is an entirely different challenge than the Half was, because this thing never ends. During a long run prep for a Half, you can run a 12 mile run and do it in maybe 15 minutes longer than your race time will end up being. That isn't that long of an amount of time in the grand scheme of things. For this marathon, you'd have to run 25 miles to get that affect, and that's just not something you can get used to. Half's are over much quicker than you think, especially once you dip into the insanity that is marathon training. Now, 13.1 miles would be terrific, and would certainly beat knocking out an 18 miler on a Saturday, because once your finish that 18 miles and you hate your life, you only have to think that there would only be 8.2 more miles to go to finish that marathon. Then you cry a little, and then you move on. I figure if I do another marathon, I won't sweat the speed details, and will just let the training go as it goes, without trying to improve so much. I think it might just naturally happen with a little more experience as my body gets used to those 18 milers. But I guess we'll see.
We're only 10 days away from Disney, so I'll be capturing the anxiety and sheer terror more frequently until that date. Thanks for reading, and until next time...later.