01 02 03 I'm My Favorite: Reflections of Marathon Training 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Reflections of Marathon Training

34

136 miles
36 hours

This past Sunday I laced up my shoes and headed out in my neighborhood for a six mile walk. It was just like any of the other 30 walks that I've gone on over the past 14 weeks. It was a beautiful fall day and I was listening to my walking playlist on my phone. About a mile into the walk one of my favorite songs from my playlist came on - Mumford & Sons' Roll Away Your Stone. It was then that I started to tear up a little. You see, this six mile walk was my last long walk before my half marathon this Saturday.

I was overcome with emotion. I'm so proud of myself. I don't mind bragging about it. It's quite an accomplishment to train for a marathon. I had absolutely no idea how huge an accomplishment it was until I went through it myself. I started training on Aug. 4. That's nearly three months ago. There are not many things that I can say I stuck to for three months.

On Sunday, I couldn't help but reflect on my three months of training. To remember all the early mornings and late nights of walking. The hours and hours of walking. The majority of my walks were by myself. I'd guess about 25 hours with just me and my walking shoes. When I started my training in August it was too hot to walk outside and now it's so cold some mornings that I need gloves and a hat. It's amazing to me to do something so long that the seasons have changed.

Another thing that I didn't expect was how attached I would become to my walking playlist. I've walked to the same playlist the whole three months. These are songs that for the rest of my life when I hear them I will remember this marathon. There are songs that always make me smile and quicken my pace (Wannamama by Pop Levi and my very favorite song Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis). There are songs that very few of  my friends would have recognized back in August, but now many of them would because it's the theme song to a new, popular television show - 2 Broke Girls (Second Chance by Peter Bjorn And John).

And then there's the song that just recently has made me start crying when it comes on my earbuds. That song is Black Night by the Dodos. I'm listening to this song right now as I write this post and I know why it makes me emotional. From the beginning there's a marching beat to it. It just sounds like I'm walking. The march gets stronger and louder. I can picture myself walking on my neighborhood sidewalks that I spent hours on this fall. Looking down at the concrete, my feet crunching the leaves. The beat gets faster and faster. Then two minutes into the song the singer starts repeating "You want it all. You want to walk. You want to walk. Crack through it. You had it all. You had it all. You had it all." Those words are so powerful to me. Maybe it's the word "walk" or maybe it's "you want it all" but whatever it is, I feel so strong and so proud and in that moment I feel like I can accomplish anything.

But it hasn't all been rainbows and kittens. It's been really hard. My first mistake was the first time I skipped a walk. I managed to go eight weeks before that happened. After I missed that first walk it was much easier for me to miss other walks. I ended up skipping nine of my 39 walks. Four of them were my long walks and that is my biggest regret. But I know I will still kick butt at the marathon so I try not to dwell on that too much.

I missed a week of training after I sliced the bottom of big toe open while camping. I think it's saying something when I'm in a park bathroom at 3 in the morning with blood pouring out of my toe and the tears falling down my face are not because I'm in pain but because I'm afraid I won't be able to participate in my marathon. Luckily, I allowed myself to heal and my toe is just fine. Note to readers: take a flashlight when you walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night in flip flops.

I've walked in rain, scorching heat and brutal winds. I've been chased by dogs and yelled at by people in cars. I've missed out on sleeping in. I've missed out on family time. I've struggled, really really struggled with my weight loss during this training.

But I know it's all been worth it. So very worth it. On Thursday I will pick up my first ever bib number, I will experience carb loading :) and on Saturday I will walk my first half marathon. 

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