The countdown begins! Only 10 days til my very first (only??) full marathon! I am excited, nervous, scared…
Last night, I asked my husband this question: “What if I can’t finish the race?” He answered, “It’s not just about the race. It’s about the whole journey. You set a goal and worked hard to achieve it. Lots of people start marathons and don’t finish. Lots of people have bad runs – even elite athletes get hurt and can’t finish. I wouldn’t be too disappointed for not finishing….(insert some other words that start to run together and all sound the same…) Are you tearing up thinking about it? What were you expecting me to say?”
Me: “Uh, not that.”
Husband: “You asked me what if you didn’t finish. I think you will finish but that’s not what you asked me.”
So. Let me just say up front. I am not fishing for ‘atta girls’ or ‘you can do its’. I appreciate them but please don’t feel compelled to sling them at me. I just want to share how I REALLY feel right now. This IS (has been?) a journey. I have traveled between high, chest pounding self confidence to considerable self-doubt, to mind numbing devotion to the plan – just get it done at all costs devotion, giddiness (yes, I get giddy!) and sheer, spirit crushing sadness. I’ve traveled all of this way on my over-pronating feet, knock knees, wide hips, ‘ample bust’ (well, I guess I wasn’t traveling on my bust literally…), my faithful Brooks Adrenalins, my faith, my husband’s shoulders, my friends’ well wishes and last but not least, on sheer naivete. What in the world was I thinking? “I’m going to run a marathon…” Sigh.
My husband was right last night. I DID ask “What if I don’t finish”. My focus lately hasn’t been on whether or not I’ll finish but it’s been on ‘what if i don’t finish’. What if, indeed. What if? I am scared and actually dreading February 5. “What If” has set in. What if it’s raining? What if it’s hot? What if it’s too humid? What if my knee hurts? What if my hips start hurting? What if i have another anxiety attack (if that’s what it was)? What if everyone finishes the race except me? Ugh. Yeah. This is a journey – to crazy land!
When I think rationally, I know that I have trained as well as I knew how. Was it good enough, though? Did I miss something? Should I have run harder, further, faster, less? There’s stuff that I know I should have done: like lose weight. I’ve lost a pound or two but what if I had dropped 10-15 pounds, would I feel better about things, now? Maybe. I don’t know. I toyed with the idea of getting those knee straps to run with. I also thought about wearing a compression wrap on my knee during runs. Is it too late? I’ve still got a 10 mile run in two days. What if I did those things? Would it help? The race changed the fuel gel from Accel to Gu. What if Gu makes me sick? I’ve trained with Accel. Do you get a picture of the turmoil going on in my brain right now? I am stressed out. It’s not much fun.
I approached this, as I do most things, with the idea that if I work hard and do the right stuff, I will be successful. I’ve been using my ‘journey’ and this blog to hopefully encourage someone else to give running, exercise and fitness a chance. I’ve used the “if I can do it, you can too” motto. I’m supposed to be proving that hard work pays off. It’s a journey, but I WANT TO GET TO THE FINISHED LINE of this journey. I know that all of the steps that I’ve traveled to get this far are important but I traveled all of these steps to FINISH. What’s the use in walking to the bakery only to peer into the window at the cakes? Why climb NEARLY to the top of a mountain? Why learn the dance steps and never dance at the ball?
What am I willing to do to finish? I am going to go until I can’t go any more. Honestly, I don’t care what shape I’m in on Monday. Just. Keep. Going. I watched a video of a lady approaching a marathon finish line and she was slowly falling apart until she just fell down, ran out. She and some other person were crawling toward the finish line. The video is titled “Hilarious Marathon Finish” but I didn’t think it was funny. It made me start to cry. I will crawl across the line if that’s all I have left…(click to watch video) “Ain’t no shame in my game!”
Alright, I know some things are simply beyond my control. If I hurt myself, pass out, get sick, cramp up or crap out and can’t finish the race… I still have all of the experiences that got me TO the race. That might have to be enough.