I have only participated in endurance sports for three years. In 2008, the marathon training didn't start until April/May. An injury after the race led to a long, lazy offseason in 2008-2009. This is the first year I have trained through the offseason.
Each year, there seems to be a point where I really notice the transformation in my body. My weight only fluctuates 6-8 pounds, but 6 pounds seems to make a huge difference. People I see every day start telling me my face is slimming down (I literally have lost 6 pounds and 1% body fat since January...not a huge change). I notice it with the chunk rub (the rubbing of the excess "padding" on my inner thighs)...when that doesn't happen so often I know I've slimmed down.
This year, the transformation is happening earlier than past years (due to the offseason training). It feels great, as I gear up for the season, to be making progress. Progress not only toward my goals for the season, but also in my overall level of fitness. I couldn't do it without the support of my home team (aka my awesome husband and kids). Check out my favorite early morning training partner. He always seems to wake up when I am watching a "grown up show", and we change the channel to something Disney. He is great company, though!