The Chicago Marathon is less than 20 days away now. Where did summer go? Did I really do my last 20-mile training run yesterday? How do my legs feel so fine today?
Although my overall time was nearly identical to my 20-miler a couple weeks ago, my splits were far more consistent and my body felt miles better. Well, as “better” as one can be while pounding the pavement for so long. As any distance runner knows, there’s a point where all normal running pain feels the same. Your knees may twinge a bit, your quads may ache with each step, but you keep going and are comforted by the sameness you feel after a while. What’s another 5 miles? Or 10? You’re in the groove.
And when home’s in sight and you practice that finishing kick, you feel like a running queen (or king). Never mind that you are drenched in sweat and smell so bad your cat won’t come near you when you enter your apartment door, you just ran for a handful of hours while others were sitting inside binge-watching Breaking Bad on Netflix. You deserve a mean bloody Mary (with garnishes galore and a beer chaser) and all the carbs in your pantry.
I approach most 15+ mile runs with a hint of dread and a whole lot of determination. Right now, that’s how I feel about the upcoming marathon. I’m slightly terrified of the pain to come, but mostly motivated to match or beat my first marathon finishing time. Because no matter how much it hurts, I need that running groove. Bring it on, Chicago.