Of course, the weather decided to mark this occasion by actually snowing for the first time all season. After barely dipping below 45 all December, the winter-training season seems it'll just as challenging as always to get ready for the race on May 1.While training in the summer has its pros (no work, no need for gloves, more picturesque scenes) the winter is personally as favorite as it really challenges you to step up a little higher. The worst thing it can do in the summer is be hot (in which case you wait until night) or rain (in which case you wait until it stops) but the tighter winter schedule forces you to run in snow, sleet, ice, and freezing temperatures. As long as the weather is in the double-digits, there's no excuse you can make for yourself for not getting out into the elements; once you do that, you'll manage to find an excuse not to run. Running the marathon (and more importantly training for one) is much more a mental exercise than it is a physical one. The summer can slow you down physically, the freezing snow of winter is what makes you really lean in.
I'm excited to be back at the Pittsburgh full marathon after a year absence for a few reasons. It'll be the first time running the race solo since 2013 when I matched my personal best, and a chance to see the slightly-tweaked course design in action. While my 2014 run with a friend was a great experience, and it was fun holding signs with a boot on my leg last year, it'll really be nice to get out there again and see just how fast I can still go. Philadelphia 2015 was more of a recovery race after my foot surgery...now it's time to see if I can still break four hours, or if that window has closed.
I enjoy saying this 12th race will be my last one...but who knows what'll happen in the future. 12 is a great number to say "hey, I've done a dozen, I can walk away", but I may still attempt to get into New York or Washington DC's races someday. Who knows...I might just run this thing every other year in perpetuity until I can't do it anymore. So it's my last race...until it isn't.
But the finish line isn't just 26.2 miles away, it's 112 days down the road. I've got at least 64 runs to do and around 500 miles to cover before I'm even at mile 0. Here goes nothing...