As I got ready for bed on Saturday night, I had a true light-bulb moment.
Allow me to overly-explain rather than cleanly summarize, in typical Sabrina fashion:
First, I realized that I am coming into this marathon mostly content with a walk/run plan because it's basically like a TRAIL runner would run a marathon. On trails, walk breaks come with every steep hill, and that's often. (Hills: that's what makes trails so fun!) I first really hit the trails in the fall after my TC marathon and fell in LOVE. Frankly, I haven't had the slightest inclination for long road races since, other than Boston, which at many times has felt more of an obligation than anything - or something I want to say I did, rather than something I want to do.
Second, I realized I'm only feeling like the walk/run is a lame plan when I'm around the "real" runners and comparing myself to them. These "real" runners ain't planning on walking tomorrow.
And then, for the first time, I told myself it's NOT that they are "real" and I'm not (I'm a fake runner? An imposter? Senseless!), but that they are ROADS and I am TRAILS.
So then I had my breakthrough thought: it is not just okay, but truly NATURAL, for folks in this race to be leaving me in the dust. In fact, why would I expect to keep up? I'm not a road runner anymore - I am a TRAIL runner!
First and foremost, I am a trail runner. I do still love to run, I haven't lost it at all; it's just that I love to run IN THE WOODS which I haven't been able to do in 6 months. You could throw me into a trail 50k tomorrow and I'd be more excited than daunted. Love that time in nature more than anything. (Now, there are trail runners who are awesome road runners. One that comes to mind is Brian Klug. However, see next paragraph.)
Secondly, I am a powerlifter. But it's hard, impossible for most, to be a superstar in both running and lifting. In taking a pair of extreme examples, Brian and Holea, which would I rather be? The answer is Holea, zero doubt. I would rather bench Brian but never run again, than run like him but never do another pull-up!
Now, the idea of never running again is not remotely appealing, at all. (The idea of never running a race again, I could probably live with, though group events with fellow runners, such as the Monster Dash, still sound super fun.) I'll keep my lunch runs with Lisa, and my weekends in the woods, I'm not saying I don't want any of that. But I don't want any more races where the training itself is not a blast.
And I think that is the key difference. Road-marathon training is a hard mental slog even if it goes wonderfully. Trail-marathon training is awesome even if it physically sucks! And powerlifting, well, that training is more fun than anything else.
These are my hobbies, the things I do to keep happy and feel good about myself, and I need them to be rewarding and refreshing. Jobs are draining. Hobbies need to refill that bucket. Road racing is simply not a bucket-filler for me anymore. That's why marathon training has been an awful struggle for the past 3 winters, and why I'd damn near kill a hobo to get back into the woods RANOW.
So there it is, folks: I am a real runner, but I am a trail runner and a powerlifter.
That's not the ideal combo to kick ass at Boston. But it does make qualifying for and finishing Boston all the more impressive, right? I shall have to think of it that way tomorrow.
Sometimes the AH HA moment for one is a serious DUH to everyone else, I know. I never claimed to be smart, peeps.
Wish me luck!