Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy Marathon Weekend!

It is a big sports weekend.  For those of us who define sports as swimming, biking, running, or combinations of all three.  First up, Saturday is KONA! Superbowl of triathlon. But more local and attainable, is the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. I ran in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and this will be my first year spectating, which I am very excited about.  In 2011, I was a CARA pace leader for summer marathon training, and wrote the following for my pacees in anticipation of the big day.

At the starting line you are surrounded by 45,000 people, mostly strangers, but all sharing the same goal.  You all come from all over the world and have a zillion stories and reasons for running.  While your friends might still not get why you gave up your social life for 26.2 miles of hell, these folks get it.  They were right there with you waking up at the crack of dawn all summer to put in those miles. 

The first few miles you can't believe you are here, running a marathon.  The day is beautiful, the energy is insane.  You are feeling good.  Nothing will stop you. 

Miles 5 and 6 you are running by the zoo.  Run like an animal!  We've run near hear every weekend, but now it's different. 

You are in your groove.  Step after step, bringing you closer and closer to 26.2. 

Miles 7 and 8  soak in the party around you.  This is way more fun than any training run.  This isn't a marathon, it is a 26.2 mile party!

Mile 10 is approaching and you are confident.  How many people can know that 10 miles is just the beginning?  Remember how we celebrated our first double digit run- now its no big deal!  Think of how far you've come in these past 18 weeks... 

Mile 13.1- halfway there.  Run from aid station to aid station.  Take in your water and gatorade.  Listen to your body.  Adjust your pace as need be.  No one said this was going to be easy. 

Take in the crowds.  These people are out there for you, amazed by you.  Let them inspire you and you inspire them.  Many of them will take up running after watching you, and change their lives just like you know running has changed yours. 

Miles 15 to 17- you are getting tired.  This is ok, you knew it would be tiring.  You also know you are prepared and will finish this.  Take in some calories, it will help. 

Miles 18 to 20 - start repeating your inner mantra to yourself.  You've done this in training.  You KNOW you can do 20 miles.  You know the crowds and the adrenaline will take care of the rest.  There will be periods you don't feel good, but most likely they will pass.  Just, Keep. Going.

Mile 21: Now you are in uncharted territory.  No, we didn't go this far in training.  This is where you realize you can do anything.  Remember- "Everything you ever wanted to learn about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles."  Whenever things get tough in life, you can look back and remember this moment, and how you just kept going.

Miles 22: "You can quit if you want, and no one will care. But you will know for the rest of your life." - John Collins (Ironman founder)

Mile 23: Yes, it hurts.  But you knew it would hurt.  YOU ARE STRONGER THAN THE PAIN.  18 weeks have made you stronger than the pain.  Think of those who live every day in pain, and be inspired by their struggles.  Your pain is only temporary. 

Mile 24: Remember all those training runs you didn't want to do.  All those times you made yourself wake up and do it anyways.  And now you just have a couple miles.  Easy!

Mile 25: Think of that first time you ran.  How proud you were of yourself.  And now here you are, 1.2 miles from finishing a marathon.  Be impressed by your achievements. 

Mile 26.2: "When you cross that finish line, no matter how slow, no matter how fast, it will change your life forever."- Dick Beardsley

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