The New York City Marathon is exactly two weeks from today.
In fact, two weeks from right now, I should be a little more than half way through marathon number four.
I should be getting excited. And I am. But I am also having a crisis of confidence.
About a month ago, I posted about my marathon training and how I was exactly where I wanted to be after my first 20 mile run. Before that, I had finished a solid 18 mile run. Things were going along well. I was feeling good.
Then, I’m not sure what happened. I had some bad runs at Ragnar – very challenging runs in the heat. Maybe that hurt my confidence. Maybe my body just hasn’t recovered from the running and the lack of sleep. Maybe it has nothing to do with Ragnar per se, but, instead, just all of the training and racing I’ve done in the past year (much, much more than I ever have done before) catching up with me. I don’t know. But, the bottom line is that my runs have not been good since Ragnar.
On top of that, this is a huge race for me. I’ll be running NYC after trying to get in through the lottery three years in a row and having the race canceled last year. So, this is year number FIVE that I am trying to get to the starting line. Even before I had ever entered the lottery, I had watched the race on TV and knew it was something really special I wanted to do one day.
And, I will probably never get back. They are eliminating the guaranteed entry program I used to get into the race after next year and I will never meet the time qualifying standards. They are just insane. So, this is a once in a lifetime for me.
I want to enjoy the experience. I want to soak up the energy of the day. I want to remember it fondly. I want to be happy with my performance. I don’t want any regrets.
But, I know that marathons aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. They are hard. Really hard. And my last two have both been miserable. I had a terrible day in Chicago in 2010. It was hot and my nutrition was a disaster. I walked half the course. I finished in 5:20-something. Last year, in Richmond, I was injured and once again found myself walking and, in this case, wondering if I could even finish the race because of the pain. I did, but it was not pretty. My finish time was over 5 hours.
So, yeah, I definitely have those races in the back of my mind.
Since NYC is only two weeks away, I don’t have time to fix anything now. It’s too late. I just have to trust that what I have done this year is enough to get me through the race. I have to believe in myself and in my training. That isn’t easy. It isn’t something that comes naturally to me. It puts me outside of my comfort zone. But, so does running 26.2 miles. It isn’t comfortable. It’s hard. And, that is why I like it.
So, I have a “mental marathon” of sorts to conquer in the next 13 days: being positive, believing in myself and in my training, imagining myself crossing that finish line feeling strong and proud. And, then, on November 3rd, I need to do every single thing I can (and even some things I think I can’t) to make it happen.