I am in the thick, or the dirty middle, of marathon training. I am over the initial mental and physical hurdles and find most days that my commitment and energy levels are strong. I've had to make some adjustments, increasing the amount of time I sleep and the amounts that I eat in order to keep things on an even keel. I feel markedly stronger than I did the first time around, owing in part to experience and in part to the support of a dedicated running partner.
Still, even with the increase in mileage, the addition of challenging speed work, it's hard to see my progress from day to day. I feel stronger but at the same time in a sort of progressive stasis. The changes to my body, to my endurance, to my speed happen slowly and inhabiting this body it's hard to see the total effect. I pick up on little things; a slightly more pronounced calf muscle, less fatigue after a fast interval.
I am reminded that change in all aspects of life follows a similar pattern. Sometimes when you start doing something to grow, something positive, it's effects aren't immediately apparent. From one day to the next you might not feel the impact, but still you wake up every day and you do the work. In the end it comes down to faith, faith that despite how you may feel, despite the setbacks, the interference of the everyday that you are building something. The faith that one day, all of the small incremental changes will add up to something substantial. It won't be an act of luck or fate when this happens but rather the result of faith, determination, and love.