It all comes down to this: Tomorrow morning, I embark for the first time ever on a 26.2 mile running journey ending, hopefully, in great satisfaction and personal accomplishment.
This is the culmination of nearly four months of training. Two days ago, I ran 3 miles and thus completed the pre-marathon portion of the training program. Since December 29th, I have completed 64 runs, ranging from 2 miles to 20 miles. Over nearly 65 hours of running, I ran 435 miles. The 3-miler was the final run of nearly three weeks of tapering, where my weekly mileage decreased from 30+ miles to 26, then to 19, then to a mere 7 this week.
After my final training jog, an incredible wave of well-being overcame me. It’s a bit difficult to describe in words, but it felt something like this:”Yes! I did it!”
Does it seem a bit premature to celebrate when I have yet to actually do the marathon? Perhaps. Nonetheless, completing the training really moved me. After all, this was three-and-a-half months of passion, of courage, of getting myself up each Saturday morning to run progressively longer distances , of thinking about and planning that week’s runs, of pre-planning my every move, of modifying my diet. Sometimes it was ecstatically joyful, sometimes it was strange and uncomfortable.
Yet every minute of it was fulfilling.
There is something exceedingly satisfying about undergoing an athletic training program at this level. I feel like I’ve found myself. Life becomes so much richer when you go for something that matters to you. This past year, running became an affirmation of my power, my right, my ability to make myself happy. I think it’s okay to get a little sentimental about that.
Lastly, turns out it’s quite satisfying doing this on my own. In a way, I appreciate how the Pandemic has basically forced me to run a solo marathon: I didn’t know when or if public races would be going on again. I decided not to wait for them. Doing it on my own reinforces my own sense of my ability to accomplish something important to me, from conception to execution.
As for tomorrow’s marathon, I’m optimistic. After all, the journey to get there has been incredible.