It will make or break you.
The marathon distance. 26.2 miles of pure pain, sweat, and sometimes heart break and ache.
But I keep going back for more.
I realized this weekend that it is not even specifically the marathon that I adore, as much as the training that goes into it and those long runs.
When I talk to most people (especially those who are nonrunners) they have a hard time even fathoming why a person would want to run that many miles all the time. I love the quizzical gazes I get as I list off my races and watch their eyes glaze over. It is kind of like a little game I play with them, sometimes I hold out on the ultras or if I really want to amuse them I throw those in too.
But, for me it is all about the love of running over a distance. When I set out to run my long runs I cherish the time. It is the only time away from everything that I get some peace and comfort. When I am out there listening to my music, phone and peanut less, it is pure quiet and bliss. Do not get me wrong I adore her but she is a handful ;)
There is just something about running for more than 2 hours that I adore. I cannot even explain it. Most people have a hard time at certain miles, 15, maybe 19 I am not sure. For me, there is no wall usually it is more the getting going that is tougher. For the first few miles I feel sluggish. But my body comes alive over the course of those first 10 miles. It is like once I get into my groove and get going I feel I could run forever. And so this is what I try to do :)
When I got injured and was walking around on crutches, all I dreamed about was running again. These last few weeks I have been running again and it has felt great. On Sunday, I set out for my first 20 miler since the VT marathon on May 27. I was nervous, I honestly did not know how my legs would take to the distance, how my body would do.
But, it turned out to be good. I headed out around 10:30 after watching the men's marathon and dropping peanut off. In the beginning my legs felt sluggish and it was kind of warm. By mile 3 I started to settle into my groove and by mile 8 I felt strong. I knew by mile 12 that all 20 miles would be mine, and I was right.
It is something that springs to life when I cover the longer distances, its a true love for running that comes from inside of my heart that really pushes and drives me to keep training and going back for more. I love long runs because it is one of the few times I always feel like an athlete. I feel strong and accomplished after a long run. No matter how much it hurts, or how bad I want to quit sometimes, marathon training just keeps me going back for more and more.
Plus, my post run long run treat, a soy latte from Starbucks (the only time I get one now) does not hurt either :)