When I started training for my first marathon, I was starting with no running base at all. The training schedule that my coach had given me showed increasing distances with the long run getting longer by a mile or two each week. The thought of running nine miles was daunting, let alone 18 to 20 miles. Then I reached a point when I would say “I am only running 12 miles this weekend.” Only. Ha. I had reached the point where, although I was slow, I was a long distance runner. As I continue to taper I had a similar thought this morning – I only ran 8 miles.
The weather this morning was damp from last night’s rain and the temperature was in the low 70’s. I thought it would be perfect weather to run – what I didn’t count on was the humidity. I was glad it was only 8 miles – but it was a good 8 miles. It was scheduled as an easy run with my heart rate targeted to my upper zone two, lower zone three. That is right where I kept it with my average heart rate at 136, 3 above my zone two upper limit. The best part was my pace – 12:40. If the estimates are close that race pace ends up being a minute and a half to two minutes faster than easy pace, then I should have a good run next week.
Next week – by this time next Sunday I will have finished my race. The butterflies are fluttering at the thought. I am calm most of the time and then a thought crosses my mind and I feel the anticipation and nerves well up. I texted a friend of mine today who is also doing the race and she said the race is always on her mind right now. Good to know I am not alone. My training partner has joked before saying “can’t we just train like we are going to race, but not race?” It is a temping thought, but we both know that the race is our marker. The event to challenge ourselves to improve, strive, and accomplish more than we ever thought we could. An opportunity to inspire others. So many athletes I know are inspiring to me because they keep at it, they improve with age or adapt when the aging process changes their course. The thought that I may inspire someone to take on a challenge they had never considered before is motivation enough to look fear (and butterflies) in the face and know I will conquer.