The past 7 weeks of training can be summed up as "All of the above."
I've run in inches of mud and freezing melted snow puddles, around beautiful lakes with palm trees in Austin, Texas, on winding trails towards the mountains, and through the University of Minnesota campus at dawn.
I've run in shorts, winter running tights, tank tops, layered long-sleeves, and everything in between. Who knew we could go from 80 degrees to 30s and snow to 70 degrees and sun in 4 days?
I've gotten injured, seen a chiropractor (thanks Jenna!), and am now running pain free again.
I got a bad cold, had to take some time off, and missed out on a long run.
My shortest run during the week used to be 3 miles, which turned to 4 miles, and next week turns to 5 miles. I won't see 3 miles again until Memorial Day weekend. And yet, when you slowly increase the miles you surprisingly get used to it (most days).
I had a moment about 2 weeks ago when I ran 15 miles and thought "if this is hard, how in the world am I supposed to run 26.2???"
I had a moment yesterday during an 8 mile workout and thought "man this is easy, bring on the marathon!"
In summary, marathon training is like a roller coaster. Some days you're up, some days you're down. You can't always predict what kind of day it's going to be, but you have to keep telling yourself that there will be good days. You also have to trust your training. My schedule is 2 higher volume weeks, followed by 1 lower volume week. As you are building endurance in the higher volume weeks and trying to move your body to the next level, your body will most likely feel pretty tired. However, if you're able to stick to increasing your distances, the shorter runs become easier, the longer runs start to feel shorter, and the lower volume weeks start to feel like a walk in the park.
I am still running in my barefoot/minimalist shoes and LOVE it. My long run this week is 17 miles - never in a million years did I think that I could go from barefoot walking to 17 miles in barefoot shoes since last May. Knock on wood, in 8.5 weeks I'll have my first barefoot marathon under my belt. Now that will be something to celebrate!