I never have thought that training for my second marathon would be Training 2.0 - that it would be easy since I had already done it once. I knew from the get-go that I would be stepping things up, in order to achieve my new goal - to BQ at the Marine Corps Marathon. But there are a number of things that still continue to surprise and humble me as I progress into my training (halfway through and the race is exactly 2 months from today!):
I have a newfound respect for the pool. I spent the summer working alongside an expert swimmer, who even has gone to Nationals on a regular basis. In addition to developing a friendship, we each took part in each other's sports. She would accompany me to the track for workouts, and then I would jump in the pool for aqua jogging (which I now love - it feels so good!). While neither of us could excel in the other, we each had an increasing respect for the other's sport. I swam 1000 yards today- yikes! While it wasn't at an all out pace, it was quite the workout. I'd love to get up to 1600 at some point. I think there is something to be said about the fact that we are both distance athletes. While Jenny and I may not be able to fully understand each other's sport, we each understand the necessities of endurance and stamina in both the pool and on the road. Sharing those experiences have proven to be quite helpful, as well as reassuring. It's so nice to know when others experience the same issues, doubts, questions, and successes (oh right! forgot about those!) as you do.
Even though I only know a couple of other marathoners, there are tens of thousands of people who are doing what I am doing, too. At least 100,000 people will run a marathon this fall. It's very reassuring to know I am not alone. That means others understand what it means to rise at 5AM to workout, put the run in front of sleep, or sacrifice a night out in order to not sacrifice your body, and they are doing it as well. I also just watched the documentary "The Spirit of the Marathon," which featured five runners (including Deena Kastor) training for the 2005 Chicago Marathon. It was very moving to watch, particularly because I understood so many of the emotions that I have experienced. Definitely check it out (it's on Hulu.com) if you have some time.
So, even as the training is getting harder, I'm feeling quite fortunate. I am not alone. I have people in my life who can help boost me up and show me that I am alone.
Thank goodness for that.