This morning was a 19 mile run and I ran it (with Chris and Wayne) at almost race pace. This is giving me some much needed mental confidence. I'm trained enough right now that I can run a marathon in under four hours--physically. I'm still uneasy about the mental part of the race. It's so tempting to want to quit and start walking as we edge toward mile 20. Our longest training runs will only be 21 miles so there's really no way to prepare for the mental aspect of pushing myself through those final miles. I'm counting on the pace group I've signed up for in Richmond to pull me through--hoping I'll have the mental energy to stick with the group to the end.
There's also the matter of warding off injury. I've been fortunate this year to not have a single injury. Aches and pains, sure. But nothing that has sidelined me.
I keep reminding myself that even though I'm bucking for under 4 hours, marathon day is such a crapshoot. Weather, digestive track, last-minute injuries, a cold, a bad running day--you can't know what you'll be dealing with until the day off. However, for the moment I'm comforted that I feel STRONG even after today's run. Almost no back pain, minimal stiffness... I feel like a "real" runner.
For all the getting up early and sweating and pain and half the day spent away from home, I love my Sunday morning runs with the group. I leave the group each Sunday feeling like I've done something with my day. And good or bad run, there's a huge feeling of accomplishment at just having finsihed it.
Race day is close. One month of training left. I'm starting to get excited...