This Sunday I’m running my first marathon since 2011. In fact, this is the first marathon I’ve run since we started the blog! I didn’t have the urge to train and run one again until this year, but once you have the marathon in you, it’s in you.
The race is just a few days away, and I’m anxious. When I ran my first, in Toronto, I was anxious because I didn’t know what to expect. I had never run more than 20 miles, and I had no idea what the last 10K would feel like.
This time, the feelings are similar, but I’m not so much anxiously nervous as I am anxiously excited. I know exactly what to expect—pain. And a lot of it. Generally speaking, I avoid pain at all cost, just like everyone else. But here I am, getting ready to inflict ungodly amounts of pain on myself. For what? To complete a marathon, and I can’t freakin’ wait!
I think back to my first full mary, with my friend Anthea. My IT bands quit working around mile 18 (or 28K if you’re Canadian), and I remember running straight-legged until the end. At one point, there was a cop holding traffic to my right and I wanted to lie down under the cars, because if I were there, I could stop running. But somehow, as I approached the finish and I saw my friends and family cheering, I sprinted the last kilometer (or 0.62 miles if you’re American). I use the word ‘sprinted’ loosely.
I think back to my last marathon, running alone in Boston, taking shots with bikers at mile 9, smiling and crying the whole way. I remember Heartbreak Hill and thinking “I am never, ever doing this again.” And yet, here I am.
Some things haven’t changed at all: obsessing over weather, writing out my race plan, and rocking out in the car while visualizing the finish. Some things have: I’ve done weights, yoga and trained with a group. My only hope is that it’s not so bad that I don’t want to do this again next year. I’ve had the best summer ever, and it’s partially due to my renewed love for long (really long) distance running.
Isn’t the real appeal of the marathon the unknown? The part you can’t control, the test we put ourselves through. How will we do? That doesn’t change if you’re running your first or your 100th.
I have no idea what Sunday will bring. Will I want to be flattened by a line of cars? Will I smile the whole way? Will my body crash and burn or can my mind block it out? I have reviewed my training log (many times); I’m as ready as I could be. This isn’t my first, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be my last, but as with every marathon, I hope it’s my best. —Amie