Another week down and we are officially tapering. How is that even possible? Those sweaty months flew by way too fast. Luckily the last long run ended on a very high note. I was exhausted all week, but still logged lots of miles. When the alarm went off at 4:15AM, I wasn’t quite sure how I could survive a long run. Once we got out there though, things clicked. I felt strong up until the end and finished fast, with negative splits. My fuel strategy was just about perfect. Never in my memory has 18 miles felt so good. Now if the temps for race day could be about 25 degrees cooler, we will really be in business.

For my past two marathons and this past week, the last long runs were really bittersweet. Yay for no more Saturday 4AM alarms, cocktails on Friday nights, and a break from ice baths! But at the same time, those longs runs were pretty incredible. The transformation from barely pushing through 8 miles to crushing 15+ miles is nothing short of awesome. Bonding with friends over 2 hours of running and the rush of endorphins to start the weekend? Is there a better way to kick off Saturday? Other than Bloody Marys and college football…but you can still do that afterwards!

My last long run before my first marathon in 2012 was such a huge accomplishment. In the previous October I could not have imagined running a step further than 13.1 miles. Three short months later, 13 miles was a short run and I had multiple 20 milers under my belt. The journey was life changing. I had come so far and nothing felt out of reach- although the 26.2 still made me a little nervous. The thought of finally crossing that finish line brought tears to my eyes, but thinking of the hard work and training made me smile with pride.

Now at the end of my third marathon training, I am so overwhelmingly grateful. Grateful for my body and its amazing capabilities. Grateful for those gorgeous sunrise runs that only runners get to witness. Grateful for all the people who have helped/supported and run with me along the way. Even grateful for those hard speed workouts that (let’s be honest) sucked. The past few months have been somewhat of a roller coaster of physical therapy, hard runs, recovery, and sweat. I cannot wait to get up to Chicago and run, but for the duration of the taper, I can rest, knowing the hard work has been done. What a summer it has been!

By: Lianne Martin
To read more about the author, follow her on Twitter @sunshine_runner or check out her site

More from Fit Nation:
Summer Running with Lianne: The Long Run
Summer Running with Lianne: Recovery
Summer Running with Lianne: Fuel Up