Miles Run this Week: 1 (!!!)
HOURS until Burlington: 21
Well, I'm here. The second I got to the hotel room, I changed into my running clothes and started doing the quad workout my "trainer and coach" gave me to do before a test mile.
I realized that I had made it about 7 minutes into that mile.
The first 4ish minutes I was just holding my breath (figuratively), waiting to feel the pain or any tweaking, or any sign that I was going to meet my doom.
Then around 7 minutes, I looked up. The sun was setting over Lake Champlain. I was running down a road I didn't know. And it hit me: I'm here. I made it. 365+ days in the making. I'm running in Burlington.
I finished my mile, and the doom never showed up.
So now here I sit, alone in my hotel room, listening to Bon Iver and doing the quad workout again. And I feel calm. Running is what I love to do. It has seen me though some of my darkest moments. And I have trained and thought about this weekend for months and months. And now I just have to get out there and do what I love to do.
I picked up my Bib at the expo and signed up for a pace group.
While I've been training for a 4:30 finish, I signed up for the 4:45 group, just in case. I'd rather make it through 15 miles a little slower and drop the hammer on the last 10 if I'm feeling good than burn myself out or flare up my right leg and DNF.
Come to find out, there is a couple that is getting married at the end of the race, and the bride is also in the 4:45 pace group. If that doesn't make you burst into happy tears, nothing will (of course, if you're already on the verge of bursting into tears at a moment's notice like I am right now, I guess this is a no-brainer).
My biggest fear of not finishing and being pushed into a black hole of depression is gone. Running is what pulls me out of those places, not what puts me in them. When I was so broken at the end of Chicago - it wasn't running that put me there, it was myself. Every time I go into one of those ruts, I'm the one who got me there. Running has been what gets me out.
I have nothing to be ashamed of for this race. I have trained my ass off (literally - I fit into a size medium women's shirt today at the expo. Really.) There will be no depression. I can say from the depths of myself that I worked as hard as I could, and that I should be proud that I have stuck to this training plan, if nothing else.
The race was supposed to be the crowning achievement, the product of all this hard work. But when I was visiting my trainer-coach, she said, "This is a good place to be. You never performed at this level before, so you opened something up in your body. We'll figure out what it was, and how to control it, and from there, you can get to a whole new level of running."
I have pushed myself to my limits. Maybe tomorrow my limits come sooner than the finish line, and that's OK. Because I'm not done as a runner. And I have challenged myself in a way that I can take this and run with it, as a real marathoner. As a runner.
Tomorrow I'll have live tweets from checkpoints on the race course (automated): @Running_Boots. You can also get race info from @RunVermont.
Be back later for a before-bed-check-in!