16hrs before my race. It’s hard to believe that 3 months of training is coming to an end. The purpose of it will be here soon enough. 194.28 miles and 31hrs 51 min logged. All the preparation is over now, leaving only anticipation. The butterflies in your belly, the rumbling in your bowels. Wherever your body delivers it’s nerves, you’ll feel it. Questions start to overwhelm your mind. Doubt and worry. Did I train enough? Should I have done more? Will my body be able to fulfill my expectations?
Last year, I didn’t know if I’d be able to run. Injuries had waylaid my training and I was left to wonder if I was even able to start the race, could I finish it? Time wasn’t so much a concern as much as just completing it. This year, I feel more evolved. Months of conditioning have (hopefully) left my body in much better physical condition. Miles of running alone has (hopefully) left my mind better conditioned. But the doubts, they still remain. Can I finish in the time I want? Will I be strong enough to pull it off?
They say that running is mostly mental and I believe that. Long distance running more so, I think. The longer to think and talk to yourself. What do you tell yourself while the miles go along? Do you say how hard it is? How big that hill is? Or do you tell yourself that you’re awesome, that ain’t no hill and you feel great? Most days, I manage the latter but not every run is great. When I’m thinking negative and telling myself how much I hate it, they tend to be awful. Perspective can change it all.
The longer I run, the more I feel like it’s a physical manifestation of how I’d like to live my life. They say if you want to run long distances, you have to accept pain. If you want to grow, it’s got to happen. And at some point, you have to decide to take in that pain, acknowledge it and move past it. Reaching and stretching for that next mile, not thinking of the miles passed behind you. Breaking mental barriers. How far you think you can go, how fast you think you can do it. Becoming that person you would like to be. How true is that of life? Into every life, a little rain must fall. We’ll all experience pain and sorrow. It’s part of the game. It seems the people that make it the distance seem to not focus so much on what pain they’re in or have been but on where they’re going. The life ahead of them.
Tomorrow, I’m racing. They’ll be tons of people around me but the only person I’ll be competing against is myself. 13.1 miles closer to the better me.