The thing I enjoy so much about marathon training is the challenge combined with the adventure. When I talk about it, people ask “You ran how far?!?”, but it gives me this great chance to explore and be lost in thought. I ran for 3 hours on Sunday, the time just seemed to melt away, and I had fun doing it.
I won’t claim to be the fastest, or breaking any records (except for my own, hopefully), but this was one of my best feeling runs this year despite a heavy dose of hills (3200 ft of total elevation change including going over both Greentree hill and Mt. Washington). Plus I love getting downtown, partly for the change in scenery, and partly because it seems so far from home, yet I got there anyway. Besides, hitting a few places on the marathon route in advance doesn’t hurt either.
The best part for me was that I tackled this 16-mile route in the same time it took me to tackle a 15-miler the week before (which was more of a struggle, and still a bit icy). It put me right about my target marathon pace in order to reach my sub-5:00 target time, and that’s while tackling tougher hills than I should see during the marathon, so it has me feeling positive for the marathon.
Still, nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment after these runs. Even without the marathon target, I know I’ve pushed myself and made myself stronger, and I keep looking forward to doing the next one!