As this week marches forward towards the starting line in Toronto, I have a sense of calm that has been with me throughout this taper that I’m hoping stays with me until the very end. On my last long run three weeks ago, I started out the first 2-miles crying. Not because I was in pain…or sad…it was purely an emotional release. I think it was my fears leaving me. I looked up to the sky and remembered my Ragnar legs—running through the epic beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Each of those steps was like a prayer of thanksgiving to God. He allowed me the ability to run, to breathe, and to enjoy the moments that surrounded me. I continued on—being transported back to that far away place gathering my thoughts. My run that day was to be a 20-mile run with the first 14 at my LSD (long slow distance) pace and my final 6-miles to be at marathon pace. When those last 6 came I just let my legs do their thing. I didn’t worry about if I could do it, I didn’t worry that my lungs might struggle, or that my legs were tired. Instead I just kept telling myself to “turn it over” with each step. I finished up those 6-miles without freaking out; instead with a huge sense of pride and a sense of knowing that I can do this. I tend to overthink things and obsess to the point of anxiety—my tapers are usually filled with the typical taper madness that runners experience. I was fully prepared for that—I warned my family and coworkers that I might be short with them; I was waiting for the weeklong phantom pain in my hamstring. But a funny thing happened—I kept waiting….waiting…and save but a day here or there, the madness didn’t come! Instead I have felt a sense of peace with each day that has passed of my taper. The fact of the matter stands that I have done everything in my power to be prepared to race on Sunday. I have put in the work and that is more than half the battle. My body is prepared to do what I need it to do; my mind—I think it’s pretty well prepared for what lies ahead. It will be hard; it will hurt; I will question why on earth I’m doing this; but I will also keep fighting.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous—I sure as heck am nervous! That kind of speed (a hopeful 8:20 pace) for 26.2 miles is nothing that I’ve ever attempted before. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about posting a qualifying time but having it not be enough and still miss running Boston in 2015 because, while I might be fast enough to be a qualifier, I wasn’t fast enough to get one of the spots open for qualifiers. Lastly, I’d also be lying if I told you I wasn’t nervous that I would miss my goal by mere seconds—that perhaps has been my biggest fear. Just yesterday, my godson’s father was running the Chicago Marathon and he had his eyes set on the elusive BQ as well. He missed his BQ by 30-seconds. 30-seconds is like a stutter step because someone cut in front of you! But my godson’s father said something to me in a FB message after his race that I will take with me to the starting line—“I was disappointed for all of like 5-seconds!” In reality he had the best attitude towards his finishing time! It’s that attitude that will allow me to continue with this calm that is present within me—it’s not a matter of if I qualify for Boston it’s a question of when I qualify for Boston. Maybe it won’t be next Sunday, but it will happen when the time is right.
I’ve done the work and I just need to toe the line and run with my heart, with all those who have been there for me throughout this journey. I will look up to the sky and ask that the Holy Spirit lift me on His wings and help me to fly—the same way He did when I was at Ragnar. I will run—and run with a light heart and smile on my face thankful for the gifts that I have been given. I will be epic; I will be fierce; I will be calm and remain in the moment—I will have “bitchin’ focus”…I will run. See you on the other side!