Until this summer, I've never been so conflicted over a marathon or its training. I entirely blame the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon. I trained my ass off. Intense. Disciplined. High-mileage. It paid off. Since then, I've entirely fallen off that training regiment. It was exhausting. The thought of picking it up again just three weeks after PR'ing in the marathon sort of made me want to die. Oh my god, that's it. I'm an emo runner. Running is HARD, wah... etc. etc.
But really. That business was work. Hard work. At the time I loved it. I felt strong. Ready. But when all was said and done and over, whoa, did rest certainly sound like heaven.
So, sure, I've been running since then. Getting in my miles, mostly. Come Oct. 3 I'll be ready to run 26.2 miles, as usual. But will it be a horrible performance? If you ask me right now, I'd say, "Yes. It's going to be terrible."
Which is where I'm currently see-sawing. What do I mean by "terrible"? Because simply running 26.2 miles is not terrible. Even a little. It's amazing. So what's with my baditude? My body is capable of some phenomenal things. I am a runner. An endurance athlete. If you chase me, you might catch me, but if you don't, I'll out-run your ass. This is going to be my eighth marathon. October marks my five-year anniversary of marathoning. I've completed fourteen half marathons in as much time.
I am a runner, hear me roar. Dammit.
I need to remember that. Keep it in my head at all times. Not every marathon can be a PR. Not every marathon will feel like San Diego. Not every training season will live up to the magic of Spring 2010. It can't. Not with two marathons a year. Realistically, for me, that's just ridiculous. I need to be OK with letting October be free of time goals and expectations. I need it to be about the enjoyment and the physical feat that is a marathon. Because it's something to be proud of. Damn right I have a magnet on my rear bumper that says "26.2". I make 26.2 my bitch.
And so this is my affirmation. October will be OK. I will run 26.2 miles. I will finish. I will smile. And I'll add another notch to my figurative marathoning bedpost. My Road ID has a quote on it. It reads, "I run because I can." And I do. Not everyone can. Sure, I can moan about an "awful" 18-miler, or whimper because I'm just not training hard enough. Or I can shut my mouth and own it.
Now, Spring 2011 is a whole new ballgame. I'm going to kill it. So for now, I will take what I have and be proud. I'm a runner. Look out.