Spreadsheets were exchanged, comments were made, emails of "Oh my God how am I going to do this?!?" came through my inbox regularly. I smiled as I replied "you're going to be amazed at what you can accomplish". I am not a coach, just a sounding board to a good friend mapping out training for her first marathon.
Through late June and July, Jess marched up through double digit runs, hitting her PDR (personal distance record) with every long run. I read all of her posts with tears in my eyes, remembering MY very first marathon training cycle. I felt every one of her "OMGs" and "I can't believe I'm doing this!", and lived all of her "but 26.2 miles still seems so far away".
On August 21st, she ran her first 20-miler. I remember the beginning of this post, and getting the chills:
20 FREAKIN' MILES!
...holy crap, we actually hit super-ridiculous double-digits this morning.
We celebrated together, through an exchange of about 74000 emails, texts, and tweets. It brought me back to the day I finished my first 20 miler, and not being able to wipe the smile off my face the entire day. I knew what she was going through, and I was so excited to be able to watch her have a very similar experience.
As she charged towards 22 miles, we exchanged many messages about tips and tricks. The one important message I relayed to Jess was one that I've chanted so many times during a long run:
"Let the run come to you"
So simple, but sometimes so hard to do. At times we get caught up forcing a long run, and manufacturing it to get it just right. Not wanting to have the slightest of errors, we end up "chasing the run" to no avail. I suggested Jess open her mind, and let the run come to her. And with that, she made her first attempt at 22 miles this morning.
She not only ran her first 22 miler of her life, she demolished it. Her words, not mine. And I am so damn proud.
Having this experience with a friend is something pretty damn incredible. Being able to experience all the "firsts", the heartache, and all of the celebrations is awesome. Being able to share all of the knowledge and lessons learned over the past years, and knowing that it might help someone else is such a rewarding feeling.We've talked fueling, lost toenails, socks, and even bra chafage. We've shared the stories of long run hunger, as well as the frustrations of that run that we couldn't get just right.
In 3.5 weeks, Jess will be toeing the line of the Chicago Marathon, which is a race that I absolutely love. It's really the perfect place to experience her very first 26.2 mile distance, and to say I'm excited would be an understatement.
The last few weeks before your first marathon tests your nerves, anxiety and patience. The amount of emotions you can feel in such a short time is pretty surreal. And before you know it, you're waking up race morning, and standing at a line with 40,000 of your closest friends.
Jess - soak up every moment of this experience; you only get to train for your first marathon once. I'm so damn proud of everything you've accomplished, and I cannot WAIT to see that picture of you crossing the finish line in Chicago.