I've only ran one marathon and that was 10 years ago, the Portland Marathon. The training was hard and pretty boring, specifically those long runs that prepare you to run 26 miles. After completing the marathon, I remember saying I would NEVER run another one. The race was long and painful and really who needs to run 26 miles? I was 32. My goal had been to run it under 4 hours. My time was 4 hours and 3 minutes! I missed my goal by 3 minutes! It's kind of frustrating to have run for 4 hours and then miss a goal by only 3 minutes.
Flash forward to last summer when I was finally able to start running on a regular basis after having kids and also being able to run without the kids! Every Sunday I would slowly increase the length of my run. By the end of summer I was up to 13 miles and really enjoying those long runs. It became my time, my quiet time, no interruptions, no demands, just me and the open roads.
I had a few friends who were running marathons last fall and running another marathon started to creep into my mind. I ran a 10K last November and the racing bug bit me. I signed up for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in January. Guess what my time goal is? Yup, under 4 hours. My goal is to beat my 32 year old self.
In the mean time I ran a half marathon in May and another one in August. My training for the marathon started in June, a 16 week plan, with the race on October 6th. These last 2 weeks of the plan are called "the taper." It's a time to recover and rest before the big day, runs are shortened and are easier. Sunday was one of my last long runs and towards the end of the run I kept thinking "yes, the taper!", "hello, taper", "I am ready for the taper!" I had to doodle my excitement for the taper because I am so ready for it.
But now I'm starting to get nervous, 26 miles is a long way to run! I really like the half marathon much more, I feel like running anything more than 16 miles is really too much for me. It really feels more mentally difficult than it is physically. Some days it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that I was going on a 20 mile run and I would be running for close to 4 hours!
The great part of all of this is I have found training this time a lot easier mentally and physically than I did 10 years ago. I'm smarter than my 32 year old self and tougher and surprisingly I feel my body has held up a lot better than it did 10 years ago. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it's partly due to the fact that I listen to it better and feed and nourish more wisely, I take care of it better. So while my 32 year old self was indeed faster, it doesn't mean I still can't beat her.