Today, I received my bib number and downloaded the race programme for the Marine Corps Marathon. I am less than 17 days from the start of the race (!) and it’s all coming together.
The anxiety I feel. Can I do this? Can I honour all those who have supported me in this journey? Can I do this race justice? Will I be healthy in the final week and do the best run I possibly can? Can I beat freaking Teddy Roosevelt’s time of 6:27??? (The Nationals mascot, not the actual president Teddy Roosevelt.) What if I start too fast and hit the wall? I don’t want to do that! Can I slow it down enough, but not so much that I am not running to my potential? So many unknowns!!!
The sense of relief I feel. This race has been in the books since FEBRUARY! Thank goodness it’s finally almost here. I honestly want to run and get it over with to reduce the anxiety. Bring it! I can do this.
The excitement I feel. I have wanted to run a marathon since 1999. I can’t believe it is going to happen! This will be an incredible course, lined with the so many spectators (unlike my long runs, which are completely devoid of any cheering sections) and running through some pretty incredible scenery. I can’t wait to have the finisher’s medal around my neck!
The crazy thing is I was going through the exact same thing last year before I ran the Baltimore half marathon. I had put in the training. I even ran 13 miles on two separate occasions, so I knew I was capable of it. Yet I still had all the feelings of anticipation, nerves and excitement. So this isn’t just a ‘marathon thing.’ It’s an unknown thing. And it’s glorious! Putting yourself into a position where you have prepared yourself mentally and physically for that moment, that race, yet stretching the limits of your comfort zone. As I once was taught, when you get out of the comfort zone, it can be a bit scary, but you are still safe. This new area, new zone is now the stretch zone, and this is where the learning and magic happens.
I want this race to be run as efficiently and enjoyably as possible. I know from half marathon experience, I will likely get to the half way point and feel a sense of sadness that the experience is half over. Look, I’m sure that about 18 miles in, I won’t be as ‘sad’ any more, but the reality is that I will only get one first marathon, and I’ll likely only run this particular one just this once. So everything that I am seeing and feeling on that course will be my only chance to see and feel and live in that moment and that mile. I want to make sure I appreciate it for what it is and what I will have accomplished. Truly wishing others the same sense of ‘enjoying the moment’ as they go into their stretch zones and travel with me on a 26.2 mi run to the finish at the Marine Corps Memorial.