So tomorrow (Saturday) is our last long run before the marathon. Today in the car I was thinking about how fast all of this has gone, and how much different (and better) the journey has been this time.
Of course, it will never compare to my first marathon, when I was new to running and was always learning and growing, and getting lots faster! I remember my first run around the neighborhood on January 2, and it took me almost 15 minutes to run a mile. Just three months later I broke 30 minutes for four miles, and by the summer I could run an 8K in about 40 minutes and ran most of my long runs at about a 9 minute pace.
I remember one of my neighbors saying near the end of the summer that at the beginning of the year when he would see me run by his front window it looked like I was going so slow, but then all of the sudden I was just flying by!
And of course, the marathon was awesome, a day I will never forget.
But if you had to compare the process I've gone through for each of my eight runs, it seems like this is pretty close to the first one. Back in February, I signed up as soon as registration opened, and I could probably run about three miles at the most. Not square one, but not far off.
As the year has gone by I've gotten stronger and more confident. Not necessarily all that much faster, but that was never my focus anyway. Marathon training isn't easy, and there were so many days that I struggled, but in the end I just trusted the processed and pressed on.
So here we are, one day from the long run and nine from the marathon. Tomorrow's run should actually be a lot of fun...just a nice, casual run with friends that should go by quickly. I'll probably do a lot of thinking about everything that has gone on this year, and how amazing it is to be at this point again. Because there were times I never thought I would be.
The last time I ran a marathon it was at such a low time in my life, and it was such a horrible experience that I felt like I was done with the race, and even done for the most part with running. I hated everything about it.
But fast forward to now, and the blessing of this whole thing is that I love running, I love the person it makes me and I certainly love how I feel. I'm also thankful to have been reminded of the number of people in my corner, and how supportive and caring those people really are.
Training for and running a marathon can be one of two things: training for an end result (not a bad thing, mind you) or taking a journey that helps you discover -- or rediscover -- things about you. I am so happy to say that this time, the latter is true.