Tomorrow is the marathon! The thought of this puts a weight in the pit of my stomach. I can't believe it's here, and that this largely theoretical training program of mine is about to come to fruition. Doing this the second time around is very different. I'm not full of the abject fear and wonder of what the experience would be like. I'm not asking myself, "Are you even going to finish it?" Last time around, when there were a lot of people cheering for me and wearing homemade t-shirts, I needed that support and enthusiasm to paper over my own doubts and worries. This time I feel more confident, more ready to enjoy the experience.
In some ways the marathon is a passive thing, like riding the rapids - you enter the current of runners and follow it, turning when they turn, pounding your feet in time with all the others. You wear a shirt with your name on it and listen to people cheer for you. You mentally tick off the miles, the landmarks, the boroughs, and note that the pain and discomfort you are uniquely experiencing is being shared by the people around you, all in their own way.
This time around I feel like I am making some smarter decisions. I can't expect to beat my time from four years ago -- a simpler time, a more fit time, a time of graduate school and oodles of hours to go running in the middle of the week -- but I'm going to try. My training schedule, slashed by the mostly welcome demands of family and work, seems to have still positioned me well for this event. I think my concerns now are more based in the logistics of the whole thing: getting to the Staten Island ferry on time, staying warm while we wait, not getting bored or getting too lost in my head during those slow hours of anticipation. Once we run, once we are launched out of the cannon, then all I have to do is finish it. It's just another long run.
This is the marathon! This time is for Alice. Wish me well.