Friday, November 27, 2015

It's certain. I will.

At this time last year, I was packing for the Space Coast Marathon. I was full of turkey and pie, but I had eaten in moderation. I had the specter of my first marathon looming over my head; it wasn't necessarily a bad kind of looming, but it was unavoidable.
With BDR just around the corner, I've found myself thinking about how my training last year - and my anticipation of my first marathon - was so vastly different than this year's cycle.

Last year...

...I was in constant awe of myself as I hit new milestones, which I now realize was borne of a tiny seed of self-doubt.

...I surprised myself when I realized I could run twenty miles. That run solidified for me that I could run a marathon, and that I wouldIn a way, training successfully was the greatest accomplishment; the marathon was big, but getting there was bigger.
...My highest mileage month was 79, and that was during the final month of training; I didn't taper properly because I got sick a couple weeks before race day, so my last long run was that enlightening 20 miles mentioned above.

...The moment of clarity - when I knew I'd definitely complete Space Coast and become a marathoner - was like an explosion bursting; this year's has been a steady, warm candle that refuses to go out.
This year...

...I went into training knowing what I'm capable of and feeling confident I would succeed from day one.

...I didn't feel any doubt. It took me awhile to get into the swing of things, and I leaned pretty heavily on Kristin and my virtual buddies to get me going after Archie passed, but there was never a moment that I thought I wouldn't run BDR.
...My 100 mile month in October gave me the confidence and energy I needed to continue building until taper, and then to taper correctly. I've done two 18-milers and one 20-miler, and I did two of those three very-long-runs alone. (The second 18-miler, which I did with Kristin as part of the Fort Myers Half, was actually closer to 19.7 miles.)

...I know I'm slower, but I'm also more consistent.

...I feel calm and certain.
I do think marathon training changes you. Tackling training for weeks on end, building mileage, conquering fear...it all builds a kind of quiet confidence. I don't feel invincible or superior in any way, but I feel like I know myself. I know how I react under pressure, under stress, when I'm in pain, when I'm doubting myself. And I now know how to handle myself in those situations.
My internal dialogue has changed. "I don't know if I can" has changed to "I will." This shift was subtle and happened in stages, but even in my darkest moments, the feeling of inevitability is there. It's very powerful and cannot be argued with. It's certain. I will.

How has training for long distance races changed you?
What lessons have you learned from running this past year?

ABK

10 comments:

Megan @ Meg Go Run said...

Training is definitely bigger than the race! The race is like the reward. :) I am so glad you are feeling confident not just physically but MENTALLY for BDR!

Long distances and running goals in general make me feel invincible, like I am not a wimp, and that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.

Courteney O said...

And this is why people who do marathons are badass!!!! Way to go girl!

Girl Goes Running said...

Completing a training plan as race day nears always provokes those self-questioning thoughts in me as well. I feel like the races I've done the best in have always surprised me because I've doubted myself. Then again those are usually the ones where I tell myself to have fun no matter what....and they say you have your best runs when you're happy. :)

You'll do awesome and I totally look forward to hearing all about it.

Annie Crow said...

Yes, there is nothing like knowing you have (and more than once) trained for a marathon. It does change you. You realize you are capable of so much more than you thought you might be, and that nothing can take that training experience away from you.

Kristina said...

Congrats on making it through an awesome training cycle. I am so impressed that you did two 18-milers and a 20. I can't wait to see you at BDR!

Ali K. said...

This must be why I love long distance running so much...it really does make me feel superhuman in a way.

Ali K. said...

Thaaaanks!

Ali K. said...

I do think going in with a "have fun" mindset really helps...I do tend to PR those races, but only for shorter distances!

Ali K. said...

Yes, exactly. Nothing can convince me I can't, because now I know I can.

Ali K. said...

I can't wait to see you!! I'm having some butt cheek pain and I'm hoping it's nothing serious, but I can't help but think of think of you! I'm hoping it's just a weird fluke!