Some (presumably wise) person once said that the first 13 miles of a marathon is physical, and the last 13 miles is mental.

As I’ve been going through my training runs, I’ve noticed something, which I’m going to consider a corollary of the above wise statement. No matter how long my runs are (3 miles, 4 miles, 8 miles, 15 miles….)

I’m always feel about the same at the end of the run.

At the beginning of a run I might say to myself, “Only 4 miles today. Should be easy.” Or, “15 miles today. This will be interesting.”. But, at the end, regardless of how far I’ve run, I’m always tired, and never in the mood to “go run a few more just for grins.” I really don’t think that my physical conditioning moves in cycles from day to day to equilibrate how my body handles the run, so I have to assume that my feelings are mental in their origins.

RunningFor my short runs, I just do them. For my long runs, I know I’m going to be running long, so I just do it. Either way, I get to the finish line tired, with legs that are partially stiff, and I’m ready to take a break. For my short runs, this is kind of a downer. I wonder to myself, “Gee.. if the short run makes me feel like this… imagine what the long run is going to do!” But, experience has taught me that I’m going to feel about the same after the long runs. (I’m talking about immediately after the run.. Several hours later, my muscles definitely tell me that there’s a difference between running 3 miles and running 15)

So, I’m looking at this as a good thing. If I can do 15 miles and feel about the same as I do after 3 or 4.. I can do 26.2 miles. It’s all mental. If I go through the training program so that my leg muscles can handle the torture, I truly feel that I can complete the marathon. Will it be daunting? You bet. 6 miles in, will I be telling myself, “Geez. Still 20 to go.”? Probably. But, God willing, I can and will succeed on May 26.

In other marathon news… A bit of a depressing thought. I really don’t see myself qualifying for Boston on this first one. I need to run 26 miles at a 7:28 pace per mile, and I haven’t been running quite that fast during my training. I don’t logically see myself being able to run 26 miles at that pace when I haven’t been running the shorter distances at that pace. Am I still going to try? Well….. I don’t want to burn myself out. So, I’m still trying to be positive, but it will be very disappointing to make the first 15 or 20 miles and then have to drop out of the marathon because I’ve went too far, too fast. So, stay tuned. We’ll see how things feel after the next couple of weeks.

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