There is an order to my mental state during training. The rigors I'm putting my body through create changes in my mind. And they sync up nicely with my training plan.
Phase I: Excitement Week 1-2 I can't believe I've committed to this race. I'm crazy. Crazy happy! I run like a wild woman.
Phase II: Fatigue Week 3-6 The training is rigorous, and the mileage is a shock. My mind fights my body by refusing to sleep and craving bad food to sabotage the running. I get frustrated.
Phase III: Epiphany Week 7-13 One day, I suddenly stop whining and realize why I run. I run because I can, and there was a time that I couldn't. I run because I like to, and I want to. I run because other people can't, and I run for them. I run for the people who I make proud, and the people who can't be here to see it. The Epiphany usually happens during a run, at a hard part, and I usually cry some and then grand slam the rest of the run.
Phase IV: Impatience Week 14-race Like a woman at the end of her pregnancy, I'm over it. I want to go do it and be done. I'm excited and ready and all that, but itchy.
Okay, so that was a nice long analysis, hm? The point is, today I had the Epiphany. I was running, it was hot, raining, I had a long way to go. Suddenly I realized I was happy. All of a sudden. I thought, what the heck are you doing out here today? You're just gonna run 20 miles? That's how Saturday is going to go? Yup. I thought of my friends, my family, my mom. I'm running in my hometown, and I wish my mom could be here to watch. I felt a little like she was.
And I felt so much ownership of the choices I had made to get me to that point right there. I owned this running, I owned these goals. It didn't settle down upon me as a burden to bear, I chose it. I wanted it. I have it.
So I ran around the lakes and cried in the rain. And it was great.