26.2 miles is a pretty good distance, not matter what you're doing. For a decent mileage car, it's a gallon of gas. On a bike, it's an 60-90 minutes, depending on your speed. It's also the distance of a marathon, and it's sometimes hard to wrap the brain around.
I'm planning to do my next one as two half marathons- the first at a decent, relaxed pace- perhaps a bit faster than my first 20 mile training run pace this season. After that I'll try to cut loose a bit, hopefully dropping 30 seconds to a minute per mile off the average of my first half. But I'm breaking it down into manageable bites, and that's how it has to be.
Some look at the marathon this way- half the work is done in the first 20 miles. The rest is done in the last 6.2. That's a little harder to wrap my brain around, but I understand the concept. I ran my first marathon that way- the first twenty I did for fun, but it wasn't till after Belle Isle that I figured out that this was actually going to be work. So I changed my iPod from podcasts and audiobooks to music, put my game face on, and buckled down.
It went well, but I don't remember that much of it. Races can be like that.
But as I was biking with a friend yesterday, I mentioned that I wanted to drop an hour of my marathon PR- from 4:46 to 3:46 as my dream goal. I'm sure I can do it, barring accident, illness or injury. It's just a little hard to wrap my brain around. Like the course.
It's a lot like the course from last year, though without the finish at Ford Field, which was both a blessing and a curse from last year. It'll be nice, and interesting, and difficult, and wonderful, like most big accomplishments.
In one month, I'll have been a marathoner for a little less than a year. Everything going well I'll have finished my third in that time, and in less time than I would have thought possible just a few months ago. And the more I think of it, the less able I am to wrap my brain around it.