Will I cross that line?
Well, this is it. After 17 weeks of training, this Sunday Connor and I take on the TCS NYC Marathon. Twenty-six point two miles through the five boroughs of New York City.
It’s been 17 weeks of early mornings. Marathon training waits for no one. Alarms noisily woke us at 4:30am as we groggily rolled out of bed and got out the door a mere 20 minutes later; water bottles in hand, headlamp atop Connor’s head, small light attached to my waist. Sweating in more places than we thought possible, we conquered the New Jersey summer heat and humidity, navigated routes in a new city, and got the bejeepers scared out of us by a plethora of deer. But we did it.
It’s been 17 weeks of exhaustion. Marathon training is hard. We knew this would not be an easy feat; the challenge lay before us and we were ready to take it on. Add a lengthy daily commute and moving across the state into the mix, and you’ve got an extra special layer of “OMG this is the most tiring thing I’ve ever done”. Peak training had us logging six-to-seven miles three times per week, plus double-digit long runs on the weekends, throughout September and early October. We were exhausted by 8pm most nights. But we did it.
It’s been 17 weeks of consistent determination and thoughtful flexibility. Marathon training affects every aspect of your life. Consistency in training has been a frequent struggle for us, but not this time. Four runs a week became the new normal. I can count on one hand the number of runs we skipped; listening to our bodies, its aches and pains, taught us that rest is sometimes better than pushing through a run just to get the miles in because the training plan says so. I truly believe we made the right decision each time we did not run, though it was often a mental battle paralleling the physical. We adjusted the plan when we needed to and didn’t dwell; we kept moving forward.
It’s been 17 weeks of learning. Marathon training teaches you a lot about yourself. You learn that you and your body are capable of more than you ever thought possible. You learn how to handle unexpected obstacles outside of your control with ease and that patience is truly a virtue. This is a marathon, not a sprint after all. The world will always find ways to try to throw you off course. Don’t let it. Why waste precious energy getting upset or angry over little things that are beyond your control? Have your moment and let it go (different Disney movie, I know); we kept moving forward.
To perhaps the surprise of no one reading this, “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana has stuck with me throughout training. We don’t listen to music while we run, but any time this song came on over the last few months, it made me think about Sunday and what will happen when we cross that line. What’s beyond that line? Well, for starters, a very long walk out of Central Park, accompanied by a combination of elation, shock, tears, sweat, joy, pain, exhaustion; it’ll be anyone’s guess.
Will I cross that line? The game plan for Sunday is to just take it all in and run our own race. Our run/walk segments of 9/3 have served us well during training and that’s what we’re going to stick with. We have a finish time in mind and if we hit it, that’s great; if we don’t, that’s great too. No pressure. We won’t give up, we won’t give in until we reach the end (then, maybe someday, we’ll start again).