Last Saturday my running buddy and I tackled the Spring Thaw, a 15 mile race circling the lake at North Park. Runner's have their choice of a 10, 15, or 20 mile distance which consists of 5 mile loops. Last year I ran the 20 as I was about a month closer to my marathon. The race went well, we stepped up our effort and finished in a respectable 2:08. I pushed myself the whole way through, which is something I do not usually do in a long race, but something I need to do to achieve my goal of a sub 4-hour marathon. I don't know why the effort and fatigue are surprising to me, but in this case it definitely caught me by surprise. All in all it was an excellent dry run for marathon day.
I recovered fairly quickly from the Spring Thaw, coming away with a bit of fatigue but little other pain. This indicates to me that my conditioning is on target. Mentally, though, I have begun to feel my motivation dissipating. It hasn't left entirely, but seems to be leaking from me at a slow drip. Ebb and flow. It's normal for this to happen after putting out a great effort yet I don't have the luxury of time off, this is the time of the heaviest training. So I push through. Motivation or no motivation I tell myself that I still have to get out there. I find other ways to keep going, pep talks, rewards. I remind myself that this is as vital a part of my training as the miles I put in, the drive to keep going when I feel my energy draining away.
I fantasize about a time after the marathon when I can get away and just relax, free from the demands of training. Thinking about that time helps pull me through, and reminds me that there is an end. Until then I have to give it my all and remain dedicated, using my core strength to pull myself back to the process.