With officially less than 7 days until I run the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, Ohio, I find myself reflecting on the similarities and differences between my training for each of my marathons. I am looking back on my training for this marathon feeling like it flew by and feeling like, did I do enough? And I wonder, what drew me in, what made me want to do this crazy thing for a third time after swearing that my first would also be my last?
I signed up for my first marathon at the very last minute – the very last day that I could sign up for it. I had been training “secretly” for quite some time, telling myself and others that if I felt like I couldn’t do it, the training wasn’t going to hurt me. In fact it might even make my half marathon that I had already signed up for better. Training for that marathon seemed to really sink in after I signed up. My long runs got seemingly easier. Maybe because once I made it official, people knew about it and offered to run with me.
I feel like I had the most time to prepare for my second marathon – mostly because I signed up for an October race in January, so I had my second marathon on my mind for 10 months. I did a lot of cross training for many months prior to the race; from doing T25 workouts with my husband to training for my first triathlon, I felt stronger in 2017 than I ever had. And then all of a sudden the triathlon was past me. I stopped cross training for the most part. I realized I would probably be running the marathon alone. It seemed like one thing after another just kept falling apart. And while I felt ready for the marathon, I knew I could do better after crossing that finish line.
The decision to run my third marathon came very casually. I was determined to get a sub 6 hour marathon, and at the time I wasn’t sure if I would do Detroit again. It was like, “Hey, let’s see what races are going on in the spring.” I originally chose the Martian Marathon because it was in Michigan, but after a lot of consideration and hiccups in my training plan, I signed up for the Glass City Marathon in Toledo. I had planned on running the marathon by myself until my friend Christine offered to run it with me. I’m glad she did, because she certainly helped me tackle my training, and I feel very confident in running with her. For the most part all of my long runs went great, but overall my training for this marathon was not ideal. I didn’t do much cross training. I didn’t run as many miles as I had planned on. But overall I know I’m a much better and stronger runner than I was 2 years ago, before running a marathon was even on my radar.
This time it feels like training just flew by. And maybe it was because it was my third time around that I felt more comfortable and confident. I honestly did not dread the long runs, and I never got the feeling of “Thank GOD I’m done!” after my 20 miler. I have yet to feel the “taper crazies” which is pretty amazing considering I suffered an injury during my 20 mile run that I thought might sideline me long enough that I wouldn’t be able to do the marathon. I have now gotten back to running at my usual rate with no pain for a whole week. I met my mileage goal for the last week of training after several weeks of not meeting it. I feel ready – and I think knowing that Christine is going to be right there with me is a huge part of that. As much as I thought I wanted to prove I could run 26.2 miles by myself, I know in my head that I can – but I know in my heart that it’s so much more rewarding with someone else.
Besides, I have another 26.2 waiting for me in October at the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon. I don’t have anyone committed to running it with me, which makes me mentally prepared to do it alone. If I get a running partner, awesome! If not, I know I can do it.
As for why do I keep doing this… well, there’s something about conquering the marathon that just means so much more than any other race. I enjoy the other distances (except the 10k – I still can’t quite fall in love with that one!) but something lit up inside of me after my last marathon that I had ever experienced before. Since then it has felt like all of the other distances are just part of the plan for eventually getting to 26.2. We’ll see how I feel after Glass City, but the marathon might just be my new favorite race. Quite a funny thing to say, considering two years ago I had just run my first half marathon and told my friend Staci she was crazy when she suggested I do the Detroit Marathon with her. What can I say… I’m a runner. Not just a runner… I’m a marathoner.