Insomnia has me wide awake. I haven't run in 10 days, but I've had a lot to think about.
The last 8 months have been pretty amazing. I trained harder than I ever have before. I did my absolute best to balance my training with my home life, and diligence at work. I tried to stay healthy, to make myself fast, and put more miles in than I ever had before.
I succeeded in some things, failed in others. In some, maybe, the jury is still out.
In the end, the marathon was everything I hoped it would be. I ran a negative split. I ran a smart race. I was able to run down Queen Elizabeth Drive, rather than limp. This time, when I crossed the finish line, my arms were raised in triumph.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
I honestly don't think I could have gone any faster, on race day. The last 5km were probably the least amount of fun I've ever had while running. Well, that's not true. I've been in more pain, and run more slowly. I've never had it so tough, though. It was mentally demanding. I'm proud of what I did at the end, keeping going, pushing constantly even though I was suffering. I'm proud of it, but I'm in no hurry to repeat the experience.
Honestly, I fully believe that I have a faster marathon in me. In fact, I think I have a much faster marathon in me. I wanted to break 4 hours, and I probably can. And I will.
But having done all that I've done over the last 8 months, I've gained a fair bit of insight into what that will take. It will mean a lot more speed work. It will mean more miles. It will mean more personal sacrifice. It will mean that I will need to ask even more from my family.
It will mean more pain.
I still have the fire. I want to be faster. I want to break 20 minutes for the 5k. I want to challenge 40 minutes on the 10k. I'd love to run a 1:30 half. If I can do those things, I'll have the speed I need to run the kind of marathon I dream of running.
I came to running with a desire to test my endurance. I was the smallest kid in class growing up. I'm not strong, not fast, not gifted athletically in any particular way. I love endurance sports, though. I love being able to set a pace, and maintain it for hours. Often, when I run, I'm running a pace that I feel comfortable with. I like to push myself to run a little further, but running a little faster isn't something I'm geared towards doing very often.
It's a nice philosophy if you're out for a sense of personal accomplishment. Running my first half marathon felt good. Completing my first marathon felt great. Completing my first olympic triathlon was a thrill.
I've done all that now. I've run as far as I'm likely to ever run. I have proven my endurance, my ability, to myself.
To beat my PBs, to go to the next level, is going to require a change in philosophy. I want to continue to improve. I want to be fast.
I also, incidentally, still want to be a multisport athlete. Swimming, cycling and running are all in my plans.
So are Sunday mornings with the kids.
I've learned a lot, and I've achieved a lot. I suppose I've suffered somewhat, too. Somewhere out on Queen Elizabeth Drive, I decided that I wanted something a little different. I love the marathon to death, and I will come back to it someday.
For the time being, though, I'm done with them. Onwards to something new, something different, and hopefully something a little easier to balance.