Every month that I have officially been training for the Richmond Marathon has had something weird happen, but at the end of every month I've been able to say that I logged more miles than the previous month. At the same time, I have fallen just a little short of my overall goals, but it's hard to be disappointed when every month has seen mileage that I've never seen before. It's like being disappointed and very happy with myself all at the same time. It's a feeling I've never really had before.
In October, I logged 133 miles, marking yet another month of steady increases the second half of this year. June had 65 miles; July had 90.7; sweaty August saw 109.6; and September was at 119.6. For the year, I'm at 877.9, much closer to 1,000 miles than I ever thought possible. Hitting 1,000 would be awesome this year and very unexpected. We'll see how I feel come Nov. 11.
Now that the countdown for the Richmond Marathon is at single digits, it's time to address that question of having a goal for the race. Quite honestly, 4 hours or better is what I want to do. But this is new to me and I'm not going to go out and start fast and hit every mile at a certain time. I've been given more than enough advice about starting slow, and that's what I really want to do. In the end, the marathon is more about finishing it and not hurting myself for the rest of my running career.
I will not make any decisions about future marathons until well after I cross that finish line, despite personal conversations I've had after a few long runs. I'm not swearing I'll never do another one, but I just know that I'm not ready to do another one right away. Those discussions will come later in November. I'm eager to get to that starting line on Nov. 10 and then take it a mile at a time all the way through. It's like the cliche "taking it one day at a time" ... I seriously take my races -- even the 5ks -- one mile at a time. If I look too far ahead, I run too hard. I don't look at least a little bit ahead, I slow down. At the end of the day, if I'm slower than 4 hours, I'm certainly not going to beat myself up. At this point, I've done what I can do.
AND PLEASE!!!! -- do not wish me luck. As nice as it sounds, it's not what I want to hear anymore. After these past few months, it's not luck that'll carry me through to the finish line.