Well, here I am. It’s finally race weekend. I’ve spent the last eighteen weeks training for one single goal: a 4:30 marathon. I’m a race and marathon veteran at this point, but I can’t remember ever being this nervous and anxious before a race. Not even before my first race ever. Not even before my ultramarathon. You see, I went into those things with training. Just not proper training.
For the first time in my running “career,” I have followed a valid training plan to the letter. In the past, I’ve made things up as I went along, skipping workouts when I didn’t feel like doing anything, and running longer distances than were recommended, without the aid of a fallback week. I was a mess, I half-assed things, and my race times last year showed it.
This time, though, I know that I’ve done absolutely everything I can. This should be reassuring, but it isn’t at the moment. I’ve been so focused on this goal of 4:30 that I don’t know how I will feel if I finish in 4:31, or 4:45, or 5:30. I need to remind myself that any of these times would be a drastic improvement over my current marathon PR of 5:43.
So here I sit, looking back at the last eighteen weeks. Sunday will be the culmination of eighteen weeks of hard work. I’ve nailed mostly all of my training runs, I’ve done the speed work, the hills, the race-pace runs. However, I have no idea what it will feel like to lay it all out on the course. I’m so used to trying to save just a little bit of energy for later. How will I know if I’m giving it everything I’ve got, or just being plain foolish? This has been the main cause of my anxiety over what should be an amazingly exciting time.
I guess it’s a good thing that I’m anxious. If I didn’t feel this way, it would probably mean that I didn’t really care about my performance. Lawd, do I care about my performance this year. I want that 1:13 PR so badly. I can’t believe it’s time to try to reach my goal, the goal I’ve spent all of 2013 working towards achieving. By this time tomorrow, it will all be over. Will it all have been worth it?
No matter what time I cross the finish line, I already know that the answer is yes.