Day 5: Coming Together

Sometimes it’s amazing how tiny little pieces fall into place at the right time. The marathon-day weather I was so terrified of has been steadily improving since I started checking the 10-day forecasts 5 days ago. Now we’re up to a morning low of 49, midday high of 58. If the rain expected for later in the day holds out, it’ll be perfect. I’ll be fine if the rain just holds out ’til 1:30.

Tonight I ate dinner (alone, because the boys took their plates and ran back to whatever they were doing) and a commercial came on with a brief snippet of a song that caught my attention. Within ten minutes it was downloaded and on my Run playlist. Look for Imagine Dragons, “I Bet My Life.” It’ll knock your socks off.

But the really amazing one happened yesterday. I have a wonderful friend, Linda Reilly, who’s leading Reilly Regiment, our OAR team for the marathon. I’ve talked to her quite a few times (we have so much in common!) and she picked up on my nerves, offering to run the marathon with me. I appreciated the offer but I’d envisioned myself running it alone, head deep into the music on my iPod. Yeah, I can do it alone, but I don’t always HAVE to, and after the fantastic 10k I did with Laura on the 9th, I was tempted to take Linda up on her offer. Having someone there to talk to kept my mind off everything else I might’ve otherwise spent too much time focused on: my heel, nerves, stress, etc.

So then someone else in our running group expressed some concerns about her first marathon, and another chimed in too. I thought, “There’s something to this running with friends thing”, and I asked if they wanted to run it together. If anyone felt strong enough to take off, go for it; feel free. But at least if we started together, we could keep each other relaxed, grounded, steady.

From there I thought of the time my therapist called me a “kindness hog.” She’s right; I’m more than happy to help others, but I don’t like taking help when people offer it to me, even if I really need it. She asked if I liked how it felt to help someone and of course I said yes. Well, her theory was that I was denying someone else the chance to feel that same joy. I had that in mind when I asked Linda if her offer still stood, and even though she could blow through this marathon in 2 hours less time than it’ll take me, she’s going to be right there with me for 26.2 miles. (People, she’s BQ’d for the next TWO YEARS. She’s my very own personal Meb Keflezighi!) And on top of that, she’ll be there to help Jen and Jill too, so not only will Linda be there to help me, but she can help them too. Winners all around!

This isn’t chilling out the nerves, though. Last night I dreamed I was so excited to see Ryan at Eakins Oval (the halfway point) that I turned right instead of left and crossed the finish line for the Half. The officials wouldn’t let me go back to run the rest of the full, and I woke up PISSED. I can’t wait to see what I dream of tonight but I’m told this isn’t uncommon.

I have a pile of clothes waiting for Sunday morning, o’dark thirty. I have two parking lots mapped out. I know where the nearest Wawa is for Ryan to go get hot chocolate and something to eat. I did my third-to-last training run tonight, though I did it on the AMT at the gym to save my heel, which is feeling better but not 100%. Tomorrow I’m supposed to rest but I’m going to the gym again and using some weights. Can’t hurt. Thursday 5 miles, Saturday 1-3 miles. Sunday… <exhale>

I’m almost there. I can’t believe 16 weeks of training is almost over. Scared may not be the word to describe how I feel. Anxious. Excited. Nervous. But I also think I’m ready. I mean, I’ve done three 20 milers. I did 3 races in 2 weeks. Just keep moving and I’ll be fine. And now that the weather seems to be cooperating…?

This is going to be amazing. These are the last days for me to call myself a marathoner in training. Sunday night when I look in the mirror before bed, I’ll own a new title:  marathoner.

And yes, I’ll probably be insufferably obnoxious. Deal with it. 😀

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