Marathon count down: 5 days
I've been going over my training again and again in my head--the only run I didn't get in was my last 8 miles because of the conference last week. I may try to get in something small tomorrow night just to stay loose and reassure myself.
I keep thinking about the pain of the last marathon. I'm reminded of women talking about childbirth--that you must lose your mind or your memory if you think of doing it a second/third/fourth/etc. time. Marathoning is like that. The first time, you have no idea what you're in for. Sure, training you threw up in a trashcan in the middle of campus, lost some toenails, and were sore more often than not....but you know, how bad could it be? I was definitely nervous, but not like I am now.
Now, I remember how painful it was. I have this searing memory of somewhere around mile 22-23 thinking my legs would never move forward again. It was like running through concrete. And finishing? There was this momentary relief, then this irrational fear: what if my support crew can't find me? Why isn't there a place for me to sit down? Can't someone see I just finished a marathon? Why are they asking me to keep moving forward? Please, someone, help me.
What I should be focusing on is this: the first hill was like cake, running through Georgetown was easy, I felt great when I saw Chadd and my mom at mile 11. Running around the mall? Awesome. And sprinting up the final hill to the finish line? I did it. I should remember the relief sinking in, how I cried when I got my official time and how freaking happy I was. I was in so much pain, but it felt really good, I was so proud of myself.
See, running a marathon is really truly all in your head.
The final piece of the puzzle is this: it's nearly impossible to control all aspects of a marathon. I've trained well, I've cross trained, I'm in the middle of hydrating, I will be well rested...but there are still strong possibilities that I could have a bad running day...I could crap my pants at mile 20 (seriously, these things happen), I could hit the wall...but:
I'm spending the rest of the week not talking about how nervous I am and instead focusing on the fact that I do love running, that regardless of the outcome. Regardless of how I do this Sunday, I did myself proud during training and since I am almost positive I'll finish, I'm telling myself that despite my time, finishing a marathon twice is enough. I can truly call myself a marathoner (K said that once I run 2, I can say marathoner).
If you'd like a good laugh...or perhaps reason to never run one:
I think they're hilarious, but then again, that might be runner humor.