There’s something different about my current training regime for the Philadelphia Marathon. I feel like a marathoner. Every marathon I’ve run in the past I either signed up for on a whim, or trained for while working through an injury just to make it to the starting line in one piece. This time, I’m not rushing. I’m not hurt.

I’ve always thought of marathon training to be this long, grueling process. In fact, the past few months have been a natural progression, all thanks to a new coach I started working with. A little more mileage here. A little bit faster there. Recover. One step at a time.

When the mileage crept past 55 miles per week about a month ago, I could feel my body undergoing some kind of change. I had some major hunger attacks and emotional moments. It’s like my system was resisting what I was demanding of it. But somehow, just since last week or so (my peak mileage week), I feel that finally, I am adapting. My appetite has evened out. My clothes fit just a little bit looser. My muscles look a little more defined. Running 22+ miles feels doable. A mid-week 14 miler is a breeze. I know exactly what my goal marathon pace, 6:50 minute miles, feels like.

I feel more prepared than I ever have been for a marathon. It’s evident in the training and it’s evident in how I feel. I have my longest run yet in this training cycle coming up on Sunday, November 1st, then it’s just 22 days of tapering and fine tuning. Philly. I am ready for you.



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Who is Mercury?

Liz Derstine, trail name “Mercury”, is a distance runner, endurance hiker, writer, and musician residing in Boston, MA. She holds fastest known times for women on the Appalachian Trail (supported, northbound), Long Trail (self-supported), and Pinhoti Trail (self-supported).

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