As I post this, I have two days to go, to toe the line for my first marathon. So how am I feeling? READY!
Yes, READY! Why? Because I know I will finish, I know it’s going to be hard and painful but I will meet my goal, I will have completed a marathon. I would have ran/walked/crawled all 26.2 miles.
As I look back at the hard training and the hours on end of running I've done to get me here, I often wonder why I decided to sign up for this race! I love Mickey Mouse, Disney and I LOVE RunDisney and all their races so that was a major factor. However, most importantly when I decided last summer to sign up I looked ahead and saw that this was the time for me to train. I had no impending deadlines, major projects or any other major event happening the next five months. So I jumped in.
Little did I know that those next five months would teach me SO much…. about myself, family, friends and at times strangers. Running is hard, running longer is harder but this incredible mechanism that we call a body gets better and better the more you challenge it. So my body has adapted at a much faster rate than my mind! Ha! By this I mean that I know I’ve always had friends and a supportive family but my goodness SO many of them have been amazing beyond measure.
For example, my running group leader aka coach. When I approached him to see if I should rearrange the groups schedule to fit my earlier races needs, he did not hesitate to say - yes, send me a message! So I did, but I didn’t expect his next response. He changed my schedule around a bit and then when he saw I would be running alone for the first five miles of my upcoming Saturday run, he showed up. Early. I was to meet him in our assigned lot at 5am. I got up at 4am and when I arrived at the dark lonely lot, he was already there! That is the earliest I’ve ever gotten up to run and for the life of me I couldn’t believe that this stranger that just knew my face and name showed up for ME! Had taken his time to listen and help me out. Me, the newbie, slow runner that always arrives back to the lot WAY after everyone has left. I can’t THANK HIM ENOUGH! I don’t believe he knows how much this means to me but it’s huge.
I also have my incredible friends that also happen to run. =) A, C, S, I and W are really what have kept things in perspective for me. A - will cheer me up and always have a funny story to share. C - wows and impresses me with her strength, the girl can run! S – is not for sarcastic but it could be, he’s not a fan of running but he keeps coming back and I love to hear things from a WAY different viewpoint. I - well she’s crazy and as she’s stated herself, she does this to post pictures on Facebook. Haha! So she just runs and runs... for the pictures. Last but not least W – he is my gung-ho, beast mode training friend. He is on another level and makes it look so easy! Ugh! All in all, the culmination of all these personalities and different approaches to running have kept me SANE! Yes, we talk pace, running routes and pain and we all have different goals but never have they excluded themselves for running faster or longer. Somehow, we are all on the same type of page. I couldn’t be happier for that.
Then come in my parents. TADA! My mom was incredulous. She would constantly ask me, “did you really sign up for the full race?”. CONSTANTLY. =) But that is OK because I know she asked more of worry than anything else. They were a witness for my Friday night ritual of picking out my clothes and sleeping in them. Making my Gatorade and getting my belt ready! They fed, walked and bathed Ginger and Tally when I really should have been doing these things. It got to the point where they would ask…”are you running today?”, like it’s something completely normal! I’ll never forget the phone call I made one day in late November, when I was dead tired! I hadn’t even finished my 18 mile run that day when I called with an SOS. Mom get the BioFreeze ready because I need one of your massages! Dad, please have some coffee ready! All hands on deck… and they were. =) I hadn’t pulled up into the driveway when my mom was out the door assessing the situation. In the end it was my shoes, they were goners, no more cushion, no more support and no more runs on those. Thankfully I was fine, I was just beat. =/ It happens. But bottom line, they have constantly been there and they will be there Sunday waiting for me to finish.
So in the end this is why I run. I run because of my great friends and amazing family. I run because I can. And I can because I’ve been blessed. Getting to Sunday has been a great journey and I honestly feel that when I cross that start line, I will probably cry. In my head, the fact that I am there starting the race healthy and capable is a victory in and of itself, when so many can’t. The road that lies ahead WILL BE CONQUERED because I am ready. My legs are strong, my mind is focused and my heart is full.