Training for a long race is the closest thing I can compare to having kids. With the first race, you are stringent about getting ready: you read all the books, don’t miss a day of training.
With the second, you’re still serious, but maybe a little less diligent. You miss a few days here and there, and don’t document the process quite as much.
By the third, you’re just winging everything and hoping for the best.
With all three, you know it’s going to hurt like hell, but it will be so worth it in the end.
Running. Childbirth. Yes, I just made that comparison.