Tomorrow I toe the line for Marathon #12..
Oddly enough, my two Philadelphia Marathon finish times are only ONE second apart. The first time I ran this race, I got hypothermia (finish time: 3:56:22). The second time, I ran on a partially torn quad (finish time: 3:56:21). I've never come to this race, and been able to TRULY enjoy the course and the experience. Tomorrow, however, there will be no worrying about keeping up with pacers, no worrying about elbowing through the crowds, and no worrying about finishing at some point during my third hour of running.
This race is truly a victory lap on my 2012 season. It has been a year that has forced me to redefine my running, to step outside everything I've ever known about "racing", and brought me back to truly enjoying the sport. Every race I've run this year has been a PW (personal worst) when viewed by clock time, yet I've enjoyed being a runner this year more than ever before.
Maybe it's because running was taken away from me; maybe it's because running hasn't been "fun" for the last couple of years, or maybe I'm just getting old and losing my competitive edge. Ha, riiiiiiighhhht. I am so thankful for this year that has brought me back to the basics, forced me to NOT care about who might see I ran a 4:39 marathon when they look at race results, and to learn how to train without getting injured.
For the first time since I can remember, I have no races on the 2013 calendar. By this time of the year, I usually have at least a couple races on the schedule, and am already building training plans. This year, though, my entire goal was to get through the 50-miler. I had no clue how my leg would hold up, how I would recover, whether or not I would enjoy it enough to run another, and so it didn't make sense to waste money on registration fees.
My hope for tomorrow is to finish uninjured, and with a huge smile on my face. From there, I'll run a turkey trot on Thanksgiving, and then hit a giant reset button.
Of course I have races that I'm bouncing around in my head, but I'm not going to pull the trigger on anything for a few weeks. After tomorrow, it's time to heal, reflect, and be thankful for all my body has done for me this year. And THEN I'll start thinking about ways to beat the crap out of it again - ha!