A big part of being a marathon rookie is not knowing what to expect. I have been a runner for quite some time now... about ten years, to be exact, which isn’t the longest amount of time compared to some runners I’m familiar with, but it’s almost half of my life. I have competed in more races than I can possibly count and have worn out at least 25 pairs of running shoes. I know what it feels like to be sore and I know that the soothing pain of an ice bath is kind of worth it, sometimes. I know how really long runs can wear you out; my first half-marathon had me nearly immobile the next day, and my training thus far has made me want to curl up in a ball and sleep for days on a few occasions. But I have no idea what running a full marathon is going to feel like, or how on earth I am going to deal with it.other people the wrong way, as if they’re immensely full of themselves for inadequate reasons. It’s a lot more similar to a proud parent, with that element of strange quasi-surprise that seems to say “I knew I could do it, but... I did it!”

I’ve heard many marathoners describe their first marathon as a very emotional experience, and I don’t think I’ll fully understand that until I get to the finish line, much like I won’t fully understand that level of physical pain until I’m done. And both of those elements are, at the moment, really abstract and are looming in a kind of overwhelming way. I’m not a huge fan of surprises, so the unknown is not really a close friend of mine. But I’m looking forward to whatever will happen sixty-one days from now.

While working the weekend morning shifts typically prevents me from participating in road races, I’ve been really getting into some faster-paced sessions this past week as kind of a solo challenge. For whatever reason--maybe the months of building mileage, maybe the few days of warmer weather, picking up the pace has just felt good. I really hope this sticks, because I am a die hard slow and steady kind of gal most of the time. We’ll see! Things I am immeasurably grateful for this week are any days where the high temperature at 8:00 AM is above 20 degrees; ice patches that turn into puddles one day and are magically dry sidewalks again the next; and a (mostly) clear waterfront bike-path making long runs infinitely more enjoyable!

Happy training, everyone!