We are in the single digits now---9 days! I've been reading a lot of marathon memorabilia/t-shirts at http://www.cafepress.com/ . There's one shirt that says, "The woman who begins the race is not the same as the woman who finishes the race." I'm not sure I feel that is true, but I guess I'll find out on race day. That is kind of how I felt when I did my first 20-miler. I cried like a baby running those last few steps because I DID IT! I did something I wouldn't have thought possible just a few months ago.
Another one I liked goes something like: Mile 22-- I thought I was going to die. Mile 24-- I was dead. Mile 26-- I was really dead. Mile 26.2-- I realized I was too tough to kill.
That's really what this marathon stuff boils down to. How tough am I? How far can I push my body?
The good thing is I've put in all the training. I'm not missing a SINGLE MILE from my training plan. In fact, I think I'm about four miles over.
I've done all the research. I've read the following:
4 months to a 4-Hour Marathon (not recommended)
Run Your First Marathon: Everything You Need to Know to Make It to the Finish Line
26.2 Marathon Stories
The Runners' World Complete Guide to Running (great book)
Hal Higdon's Running a Marathon
Running for Mortals
Marathon Training by Joe Henderson
Jeff Galloway's Marathon Training Plan
??? another one I borrowed from my friend Carol but can't remember the title
I've even supplemented with core work and arm/shoulder work since these areas are important on long runs, too.
So, taper brain is setting in and I'm starting to ask the question: Am I really ready?
Right now I'm honestly looking at the marathon as another long training run. A 26.2 mile one. I found myself overwhelmed at the thought of running 20, but by breaking it down into little parts, I found it was tough, but doable. The key for me is going to be to RUN SMART: don't get caught up in the excitement and go out too fast; walk through water stops and stay hydrated; don't put too much pressure on myself about a particular finish time.