Dear First-time Marathoner, ahem, Kimikay,
I’m sure you are fully aware, but just in case you are completely oblivious, I wanted to point something out to you…You are about to experience the final chapter of an epic journey.
Perhaps you have been dreaming of this day for years, or only a few months. Either way, this is huge. WAY huge. We’re talking like this is the only time in your life you will ever run your FIRST marathon. You may choose to never tackle this distance again, or on the flip-side you may run 100 more. Regardless, you will never get this moment back again. Ever. Again.
You are about to embark on one last hurrah full of blood, sweat, most likely a few tears, blisters, chaffing, body glide, GU, Gatorade, and perhaps some vomit. Embrace every single second. Savor every moment, even the really awful moments. Trust me, there will be some.
Amidst all the excitement of race weekend, don’t forget to devote some time to reflect upon the months of training and sacrifices that got you here: the early mornings, time away from family, sore muscles, injury scares, blisters, lost toenails, etc. At any point in the race you are tempted to give up, think about these sacrifices, and they will for sure help you dig a little deeper. Afterall, winners adjust.
There will be miles where you feel like you are floating on a cloud and this is all but a dream. Then BAM! You get knocked right back down to reality. Sometimes those low points in the race ebb and flow, leaving as quickly as they arrived. Other times the pain will stick around for a while. Don’t worry, it’s just part of the marathon game baby, she deserves to be respected, all 26.2 miles of her. Sometimes she steals those smiles from her participants to remind them that she means business. She’s just keepin’ it real.
While running tomorrow you are going to push yourself further physically and mentally than you ever thought possible. Scary huh?Want to know some secrets that can get you through it? Really? You ready for it?...Smile. Laugh. HAVE FUN. Earth-shattering, right? Whether your fun is saying thank you to the thousands of volunteers, high-fiving the children who think that you are on the same level of a Kenyan, fist-pumping the air when you see a photographer, or chatting to the people around you. In the end, the marathon is what you make it.
Most likely you are excited to toe that line tomorrow morning. And you should be. You earned your VIP entrance into one of the greatest parties in existence. Just promise me one thing, amist all the hustle and bustle and chatter before the start gun goes off, steal a few moments for yourself. Shut your eyes, take a deep breath, send a prayer up to whoever your God is, and say thank you. You have so many things to be grateful for, your health, the ability and the opportunity to celebrate a healthy lifestyle and to conquer a challenge of your choosing. While your eyes are shut, tap into the remainder of your senses. I have always said there is a certain magic in the air on Marathon morning, it always hovers around the start line and I swear to you if I could bottle it up I would fill up an infinite number of vials and unplug them every morning of my life. Feel the magic around you and file it away somewhere in your mind where you will never lose it. It truly is one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever known.
After the gun goes off it’s up to you to pump those arms and move those legs, putting one foot in front of the other. You most likely have some finish time goals, but don’t let the numbers get even close to consuming you. Just run. You can do this. Believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish the goal of crossing the finish line. You have so many loved ones in your corner who will be there in the flesh witnessing the final paragraphs of this story, and others will be there in spirit. Rely on the love and support of each and every one of theses individuals to propel you to the finish.
When you cross that finish line, do whatever you damn well please. Suggestions? You bet I got ’em, all equally acceptable:
- Kiss the ground
- Kiss your finisher medal
- Hell, kiss a volunteer!
- Pee your pants