I really can't say it enough. I love running. Even on days when I don't have a great run, I still appreciate it. It's a sport that requires time, dedication, and patience. It won't let you cheat. It makes you embrace it. It makes you really search your soul and decide what's important. It requires you to plan. It makes you feel alive.
I was reminded of the joys of running early this morning when I laced up my shoes before the sun was peeking over the horizon. My weekly date with my long run is something I look forward to all week. Long runs are my favorite part of marathon training and the reason I don't think I will ever fully remove myself from the sport. Sure, the runs during the week are fun too, but I always plan my schedule around those long runs. I make sure I am well rested and I am more disciplined with my nutrition. It makes me a healthier, more focused athlete. I book a few hours of the day where it's just me and running. No other distractions. No other complications. Whether I am running alone or with a group, it's still my time away from the world.
Today was another great step up the marathon training ladder. I logged 9 miles and felt strong doing it. I am growing more confident with each passing week. If I can stay healthy, I am expecting huge gains in my 2nd marathon. I know I am still a long way from Chicago, so hopefully things continue to go as planned. I really think cutting back on the number of days I run each week is helping tremendously. Quality over quantity is my theme this training season. We will see if it produces results.