Today started the same as every other Saturday in my household. I awoke, long before any other member of my family, to head out for my weekly long run. In the past, a long run consisted of a mere five or six miles, and a congratulatory pat on the back from one (or all) of my running partners for a job well done. We used to finish and act as if we were amazed that our "non-runner" bodies actually survived. That seems like forever ago.
Today, S and I embarked on an 18 mile run (which at the speed we go, is more like a jog for most runners). We were filled with both excitement and fear, having never completed more than 16 miles at any one time. But to be honest, what we should have been feeling was dread. Although we finished in just under three hours, it felt like we were out there for 30. Neither of us had any energy. In fact, on more than one occasion, we remarked on how we felt like we were barely moving and that we were sure that our legs could take us no farther. For the first time in my marathon training I honestly thought, "How am I ever going to run 26.2?"
When we finished (that last mile took FOREVER), I bent over and told S, "If I ever tell you that I want to run another marathon, shoot me." And I was being completely serious. I have to give credit to all those runners who do multiple marathons, whether it be in the same year or over the course of their lives. I want to enjoy running again (at least how I usually feel when I'm done), but right now I am just praying for this training (and the race) to be over. I have made the executive decision to become a 5K and 10K runner, with a half-marathon here and there (very far apart, of course). My body can handle that.