Saturday, October 24, 2009

14 Hours Until the Marine Corps Marathon

So here I am, less than 14 hours from the start of the Marine Corps Marathon and my stomach's doing somersaults full of butterflies. I'd love to have some great thoughts about all of the training and support I've gotten. How do I capture my thoughts about training for six months for something that will take me six hours to run. Errr, more like walk.

Maybe something about how it's all about the journey, or "it's about the climb" (thanks Miley Cyrus), but really it is about finishing. How I got back in shape and lost more than 20 pounds. How it's gotten me to exercise when I didn't want to. How it's given me massive amounts of self confidence that I can do what I want when I set my mind to it. Dare I say it, I have discipline.

How I can't believe I'm even at this point, on the cusp of running 26.2 miles. It seems like just last week when I was happy to run 40 minutes without stopping. I'm still flummoxed to think the Army 10-miler was a warmup run for me. I still remember calling my parents announcing I had broken double digit mileage, peaking too early, for the first time back in the Spring.

At first, I wanted to run this race because of sibling rivalry, but I quickly learned this was about me. I'll never match my sister's time (Vegas odds have her finishing 90 minutes earlier) nor her race count (this'll be #6), but I will match her will to finish. I want to do this for myself, I need to do it for myself, and I will do it for myself.

I've learned about motivation when the running gets tough. I know who I'll think of to keep me going when I hit the wall and curse ever signing up for this event. I know what they went through, still go through, and will go through long after I cross the finish line. What ails them makes my complaints weak in comparison. As if running is so tough to deal with.

I've learned the ways of those crazy running people who think nothing of long runs on a weekend instead of staying in bed for a few more hours. I've learned the rules of running and how to wave to other runners because we both know what we're going through. I've learned the value of nip guards, body glide, a GPS-enabled watch, and replacing shoes every few hundred miles. I've learned how to manage blood blisters, busted toenails, and shin splints.

I've learned how to be a runner and in 19 hours I'll join 0.1% of the population and learn what it takes to be a marathoner. I guess those are my thoughts the night before the race.

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