If I were the sort of person who kept track of numbers -- miles ran, hours spent, times accrued -- I would be able to tell you that these last 2 miles that I ran this evening brought the total training mileage/hours/times to ___________.
Alas, I am not that sort of person.
What I can tell you is that there's a strange mixture of relief and sadness about finishing the training: I'm relieved that the more than four months spent preparing for Sunday is nearly over so that I can resume my regularly scheduled life (in which I will surely choose some other race to train for and prepare for); but I'm also saddened that the training is at its end. As mentioned previously, I've spent more than four months of runs with a singular goal -- prepare for Chicago -- and now that they're over, it's like a huge chapter in the year and in my life is coming to a close.
I realize, of course, that it is all leading up to the marathon, which hasn't happened yet, but in many ways, I think training for the marathon teaches us just as much, if not more, than the marathon itself does. Especially because I'll be finished with that marathon in a matter of hours, but I've spent days, weeks, and months in training. Over that course of time, I've experienced euphoric triumphs and I've felt unbelievably disappointed and frustrated: I've sweat (a lot), I've cried, I've laughed, I've nearly barfed, I didn't finish some runs, I exceeded expectation on other runs, I've been rained on and splashed, I've eaten my far share of gnats, and I've turned around because of lightning, I've run through incredible heat and humity, I've run in the dark and under heaven's hot glare, I've run tired, and I've run with all the energy of a crowd, I've run by myself -- miles and miles all alone, but I've also run with others, I've even been left behind by others, I've run to the sound of crashing drums and to the quiet of the night's air. I've run.
I think it all -- bugs, sweat, lightning, disappointment, fear, joy -- has helped me understand myself and what I am capable of in a new way. So, no matter what race day brings, I know I trained well and I've made this MY experience.
That has its own sweetness.
*I'll post again tomorrow morning, peeps, before we go, and then you probably won't hear from me until we get back Monday night. So:
Good night. Sleep tight. See you in the morning light.*