[Title of this post should sound like this.]
And just like that, the longest run of my marathon training is now behind me: 20 miles on a sunny Saturday before Easter. I combined two of my favorite Bremen routes into one long run — first a long 10-mile loop around the Bürgerpark, Stadtwald, and Unisee, then a quick stop at home to pick up a new water bottle and more fuel, and finally another 10-mile loop along the Weser river, Werdersee, and Osterdeich before making my way home. Anytime I felt overwhelmed by the distance ahead of me, I forced myself only to think of the miles until my next intake of fuel, so that I never had more than four miles on my mind at a time. For some strange reason, my body always falls for that trick and before I knew it, I was done with three-and-a-half hours of running!
I can actually hardly believe that I’ve made it this far in my training. If you remember, I had some serious doubts — which is why I avoided the marathon distance for so long even though I have more than a dozen half marathons to my name. And I kind of don’t want to jinx it by talking about how smoothly everything has gone so far. (I’m still reminded of a friend who got appendicitis the week before the NYC Marathon — really, anything can happen!)
The next three weeks before the marathon are all about the taper — meaning that I keep on training, but my mileage gets gradually reduced in order to give my body some time to recover before the big race. This time is known to induce the “taper crazies” among some runners — What do I do with all my time now? What if I lose all my fitness before the race? Did I train enough? — but I *live* for the taper. It’s finally a chance to feel good about all the miles I stored up in my training bank, get some rest, and get my body ready to push itself to the limits. I hope that’s the case this time around too!
Of course I’m a bit anxious about discovering just how much harder 26.2 miles is than 20, but I’m glad I’ve finally reached a point where I *know* I’m capable of pulling myself over that finish line on April 17th.
Until then, wish me luck with staying calm and if you have any tips or tricks for a successful marathon, please send them my way!