Two years ago today I took part in my first marathon in Philadelphia.
It’s not something I had ever really wanted to do, and other than the enthusiasm of RVRR, I’m not sure why I did it then.
As before the race, I didn’t really feel like I wanted to afterwards either:
I still maintain that I don’t want to run a marathon – 26.2 miles is too far for me. So, you may ask, why am I doing it again in 5 days time?
The simple answer is that it sort of happened by accident. I signed up early in the year with the aim of using that entry as a training tool to help me on my way to a half marathon PR. At the time I thought there was a very good chance I would just end up running the half marathon.
Armed with my newly gained coaching qualifications I soon set myself a plan. As is always the case, life can get in the way – trying to juggle (and often failing at juggling) family, work, and anything else that comes up, can easily cause the plan to be abandoned. There were certainly weeks when this was the case, but it seems I was able to limit the impact, and this was borne out by my half marathon performance at the LeHigh Via Half and the Newport Half in September where I came tantalizingly close to that 1:30 barrier I had hoped to break through.
Throughout my training my goal was to break my first marathon time. If that wasn’t going to be likely, then I would drop my plans and run the half instead (why put myself through something like that if it’s going to be a disappointment – after all, I don’t want to be running that far anyway). Along the way I have been comparing to my prior experience training for the race in 2013 and I can see, and feel, the difference.
I know I have what it takes to beat my previous time, but I also realize I am fully at the whims of the day – anything can happen to ruin a marathon – so I am not counting out a failure yet. My 20 mile run a couple of weeks ago has given me a huge amount of confidence. I felt good, with no cramping problems, and was able to easily increase my speed as I progressed. It was by far my fastest time over such a distance.
Tapering has been interesting. I simultaneously feel happy to not be running so much, but I am also struggling with the feeling that I should be out there doing more (I actually have run less than my plan had allocated, so perhaps that’s valid).
Good luck to everyone running Philly, and no matter what happens out there, try to enjoy it.