I can’t believe there’s less than 12 hours left until my first marathon.
In a weird way, I feel a lot less pressure than I felt during the night before the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon.
At the risk of sounding overconfident, I was pretty sure that I could finish the race and although I told everyone that my goal was to finish, I was secretly hoping to finish with a 10:00 min\mile pace. Of course, that didn’t happen. While I was elated to have been able to run the entire distance with only brief walking breaks at water stops, I was a bit disappointed inside that I didn’t achieve my goal.
Tomorrow, my goal is just to finish. Honestly. While I believe that my training has put me in the position to finish, I also know that 26.2 miles is a very long distance and that it will push me to mental, emotional, and physical limits that I have never, ever reached before. I plan to walk through all water stops and I also have told myself several times that it is perfectly OK to stop to walk at other points in the race. Reading a lot of race recaps from friends who have done this before have all shown me that there are plenty of outstanding runners out there who have taken walk breaks and still finished with a smile on their face.
Sure, it’d be nice to finish in under 5 hours, but I’d rather finish in 6 than try to hit 5 hours and wind up scoring my first-ever DNF. My only concern about the long time is that Sheila and my family will be there to cheer me on and that it is supposed to rain. I’d hate to have them spend a ton of soggy hours out there! Fortunately, I know that all of them will forgive me for that and that they will wait as long as necessary.
I should probably finish getting ready, but before I go, I’d just like to thank God again for helping me get to this point. I still can’t believe that only a year and a half ago I wasn’t able to run for more than a few blocks without getting winded, and now I’m on the cusp of finishing my first marathon! Without God, I wouldn’t have had the strength or confidence to do any of this…and I know that regardless of what happens to me tomorrow, God will be with me from the starting line all of the way to the finish line, even if it takes a long time to get there.
If you’re the praying type, please lift up a few prayers for me and everyone else who will be out there tomorrow. Each of us has a story to tell about how we got to that point, and Lord willing, we’ll have a few new triumphant chapters to add to our stories tomorrow evening!