This is week 7 of marathon training and this is the point in the training plan where things really start to get real. For the first 6 weeks of the plan, there are two 3 mile short runs per week. This week, the two short runs increase to 4 miles. There is also a mid-distance run on the schedule every week that started out at 5 miles during the first three weeks of training then increased to 6 miles for the next three weeks. This week, that mid-distance run increases to 7 miles. Oh, and my long run this weekend? Yeah, that is supposed to be 14 miles which, by the way, will be the longest distance I have ever run. If I manage to pull it off, that is.
Before this week, I think I have been telling myself that this is no worse than half marathon training. It was easy to buy into that line of thinking when none of the distances on the training plan were longer than the 13.1 miles I had already run and already knew I was capable of. Now, I am staring down more miles than I have ever run before and my goal suddenly looks bigger and scarier than it seemed in my head. I'm too stubborn to give up now, but the task just seems so much bigger the further I get into training.
Even with all of that going through my head, this run went pretty well. I had a late class today and since it was our last meeting and the class was relatively small, the professors brought food. I probably should have shunned the calories, but I was hungry and I knew I would have to do this run immediately after class if I wanted to catch the last of the daylight. I decided to eat a little bit so that I wouldn't be hungry during my run, and somehow that turned into me putting 3 crackers, at least two tablespoons of guacamole, 3 small slices of honeydew melon, 3 chunks of cheese, and a brownie on my plate. It was enough food to fill up one of those dessert size plates, and I cleaned that plate. It was certainly not my finest moment, but it definitely could have been worse.
Part of the reason this run felt so great was the temperature. Tennessee has finally realized that it is, in fact, autumn, and that the temperatures are, in fact, supposed to be below 60 degrees Fahrenheit on occasion. We've had a few mornings where the temps actually dropped below 40 and I've definitely been enjoying the cooler weather. I'm sure the summer lovers are hating this weather pretty hard, but I've been waiting for it for a while. I developed an intense fondness for coats when I lived in New Haven and I will argue that boots are better than sandals for always.