Next Sunday will be the culmination of our training for the Surf City Marathon.
Technically, it is the third-to-last Sunday training run we'll have ahead of my first marathon. This journey that I began when I joined the Lopers back in July will come to a close soon enough, but next Sunday is the final gigantic obstacle in our path.
That's two miles longer than my previous "Longest Run Ever."
Honestly, I wasn't really dreading it nor was I nervous about it. After all, I'd done 18 and 20, and what's 22 compared to the 26.2 I'll face a little bit after that? On Feb. 7, I'll wish I could stop after 22 miles.
But after Sunday's 15-mile run, the amount of mileage in front of me sort of hit me head on.
My next long run will be 22 miles, what my pace leader called a dress rehearsal for Surf City.
Stomach, begin churning.
I'm worried about it for a few reasons. First, it's a distance I've never scaled before. Second, it's as close as I'll ever get to running a marathon without actually running a marathon. I imagine the marathon will have a lively atmosphere, there will be people cheering you on and the thought of my family and friends at the finish line might carry me the final mile or three. But this 22-miler is all about work, all about training, all about getting the mileage in and the distance done. There will be no glory on Sunday, no pictures at the end of the run. No medals.
But that's where the real glory lies, in the training. The race is a culmination of your training, and that holds true for shorter as well as longer races. And really, that holds true of anything, not just racing. What you put into something is what you can expect to get out of it.
I've put a lot into my training, so I expect a lot in return. I expect to finish Surf City. I expect to get through this 22-mile run. Is it going to be hard? Yes on both counts.
But I know I can do it. Soon, it will just be time to show it.