10 days: Grateful Dead

I titled this post Grateful Dead because I keep thinking about what a long strange trip it’s been.

Can’t believe the big day is in 10 days. I try not to say “marathon” too much because a) it scares me down to my soul, and b) I don’t want to overuse the word. Chances are good I’ll have lots of time to do that AFTER it’s over.

I did a 10k this past weekend, and I have another one this weekend. There was once a day when I thought a 6 mile run was rough. Now it’s a pasttime. My plan is to run the race thinking, “Okay, I’ve done 20 mile practice runs before. They’re not easy but I can do them.” Once I get to the 20 mile mark, I just remind myself that hey, I’ve done 10k’s before, and that’s all that’s left.

Mostly I just want to know if I can do it. I want to put myself to the test and see what happens. I think I got what it takes, but the proof is in the pudding.

If the race were tomorrow, I’d be ready. Well, ready except for not being in bed by 8. If I have to get up at 4, I’m hitting the sack early the Saturday before. Not that I’m going to sleep. I remember getting maybe 3 hours of sleep the night before my first 5k. I was scared out of my mind, certain I’d forgotten something, some item or detail or information that would completely ruin the whole thing. I still remember finishing the first mile, seeing how much more I had ahead, and thinking, “I think I’ve greatly overestimated myself.” But when I saw a potential PR ahead of me, I rocketed for the finish line. My feet were sore for two days but I did it.

My Across the Bay  10k medal looks fantastic on my medal rack. (Also known as the curtain rod in my room.) It’s one of my prouder possessions not for my accomplishment but for my friend Laura’s. She wasn’t sure she could run 6 miles. Her longest training run was 3, and her foot still hurt from an old injury, to say nothing of the stress fracture from which she’d only recently healed. We talked most of the way through the 6 miles, occasionally checking in for physical cues, but when we crossed the finish line, hands held high, I could see the pride and joy (and great relief) in her face. I was so thrilled and honored to get to be there for her. I can’t wait ’til we do it again next year!

Sometimes I’m nervous when I think about the race. The latest check of the weather says the day before will be 44 degrees and clear. I have a space blanket from the 10k, and I found some amazing fleece pants that I’ll bring with me, along with a fleece/microfiber/knit blanket that I’ll burrito myself into when it’s over. I seem to have this thing about hypothermia, but I’ve come in from races and even from the gym on cold nights, and my lips are blue. Needless to say, I need to find myself a good pair of gloves.

I told Ryan the other day that I’ve put more thought and planning into this one race than for any book I’ve ever written. On second thought, I’m not entirely sure that’s true. I daydream about stories; I jot notes when they come to me; I listen to music and get ideas. For this race, I’ve read articles, watched videos, sat glued to marathon coverage for hours. And then there’s the training miles. I think it’s over 500, all told, and I haven’t gone short yet.

This race is all for me. It’s taken me a while to learn how to be selfish but when I go out to run this thing, the difference between success and failure is all me and only me. I’m the only one who can impact the end result. And I think I can do it. Now to see.

finish line ATB10k


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