The hay is in the barn.
The work is done.
You are ready.
I know it’s true but there’s this little voice deep inside my head that whispers, “Did I do enough?” “Can I hold this pace?” As I go through the motions this week leading up to the race, my job has been to quiet any negative thoughts. When I start to wander and go to that place, I immediately change directions and think about all the quality runs I did to prepare. All the runs that I ran at race pace or below. All the times I pushed myself, embraced the suffering, and let it hurt so it wouldn’t hurt as badly on race day. I reflect on all the tangible evidence that has set me up to race well on Sunday and think about all the reasons I want this.
I haven’t run a standalone marathon since Shamrock marathon in 2011 (my marathons since have been during Ironman races) and I’ve missed it. A lot. In 2011 I was going for the same goal time but came down with the flu a few days prior to the race. I gave it my all on race day but came up 5 minutes short of my goal and relapsed with the flu horribly. I was crushed; I had worked so hard and wanted it so badly and then it was all out of my control. I promised myself that I would be back to the Shamrock course to get my revenge someday.
My plan was to get my revenge last year but instead I walked the 8k sporting my back brace just 5 weeks out from back surgery. I was told before surgery “you’ll never run a half marathon again” and “you’ll never run competitively again.” This made race weekend last year that much harder. Being on the side line is never easy, but being there and not being sure if you’ll ever get off it, is petrifying. Especially when you love something so much and have built a career around it. I never believed the doctors, but deep inside I was scared that they were going to be right. Thankfully, it turns out they were wrong. Very, very wrong.
In 3 short days I’ll toe the line at Shamrock and prove just how wrong they were. I have 3 goals which I’m putting out there:
A – sub 3:30
B – sub 3:35 (new PR)
C – smile and be grateful for every single step
I can already tell you that “C” is in the bag! No matter what happens on Sunday, I am so thankful to be back out there running and I am not taking this for granted. Yes, I want that “A” goal, badly, but this race is about more than a finish time. Yes, I am nervous. I am excited. And on Saturday, I’ll be emotional (I always am the day before a big race). But on Sunday, a confident calm will come over me and I’ll fight with all I have to get my revenge and smile along the way because being able to do this is, well, it's awesome.
So, as my coach said to me earlier this week, “It’s time to burn this mother down.”