I was beginning to get jittery last night about the upcoming marathon. It was girls' night and it was late so I turned to my darling daughter and said "Mommy is getting a bit nervous about the marathon. How do you think I will do?" I didn't have long to ponder how crazy it is to turn to a 3 1/2 year old for advice before she surprised me with her ever present ability to shock me. She quickly responded, "Mommy, you will do fine and I will be there to cheer you on. I will even go on the plane with you." When I informed her there is no plane this time, she went on to describe how we can high five at the end and that she will be waving her American flag so I can see her.
I cuddled up to her later in bed feeling amazed that I have such a perfect little girl to love and cherish and when the self-doubt started working its way into my mind again, I started visualizing.
Here is my race course. Okay, it isn't just mine but I like to call it mine. It allows me to take ownership of what I am about to embark on.
I know this course and even though I don't run it much, I have run bits of pieces of it here and there. Plus, I drive a good portion of it to and from work and I have been thinking of myself running it while driving. But here is how race day is going to go.
The day before. Go to the EXPO and get my race packet. Go to the Front Street Mile Run and run my darling daughter's first race with her. (Yippee!) Prep all my stuff for race day including my Dad's remembrance piece I will be putting on my right leg. Haven't completely decided what I am going to write but I will do something. Have a good dinner and try to get to bed early. Hmmm....
The shuttle bus service to the start line will run between 3:30 am to 4:15 am. Race start is at 5:30 am and as much as I don't like lingering too long at the start, I don't want to worry about being late. I am a very punctual person that is always early to things. Perhaps a character flaw on race day as it makes me a little too early sometimes. I plan to catch the shuttle around 3:45 am or so. Therefore, I need to wake up at 3:00 am, eat and drink, take a quick rinse in the shower, sunscreen up, get into gear, and visit the potty probably for the 100th time before walking to the shuttle pick-up. As much as I would like my dear hubby to escort me, he will probably opt to stay in bed or start his own pre-race routine. He is doing his first half marathon and his course starts and ends at the marathon finish.
Right before race start, say my silent prayers and gain my focus. Take deep breathes. Be calm. Be focused. Try not to cry too much. Yes, I have a tendency to get weepy before race starts on the longer runs. So much emotion.
5:30 am: Race starts. Keep my adrenaline in check and start smart. Deep breathes. Focus. Run. I would rather start slow than start fast. Focus on the slow paced tunes at the beginning of the play list and get myself into rhythm.
Remember the hills in the first half but don't fear them. I can do this. I ran the hills on Kaua'i perfectly. I was strong and I will be strong again. They are just hills. I have trained for this and I have faith in my incline training. Remember all those times of running at a 10% incline? I did it. I succeeded. I can do this. I trained for this. I am ready.
I may encounter more wind around 8 miles since this is the windiest portion of the island. No worries. 99% of the time the wind goes in the direction that it will be at my back. If not, it will be refreshing and cool. Be strong. I will run my pace and not be propelled by the forces that be.
As I run the inclines, declines, twists, and turns I will look forward to the tunnel up on the course ahead at mile 12.5. This is a great marker as it is the almost halfway point and the course transition point. Once I make it through the tunnel, I will begin running an almost flat course. It may be hotter (okay, will be) but the hills are gone. I will continue to run smart, keep hydrating and refueling myself, and enjoy the ocean views.
Around mile 19 I will reach the half marathon turn around point and begin running the course I ran last year. I know this terrain. I ran this course and I will enjoy the run along Front Street and think of running it just the day before with my darling daughter. Once I exit Front Street, I am on my final stretch and yes, there may be that headwind again but this year, I know it is there. You won't surprise me twice.
As I make my way to the finish, I will look for my darling daughter, my mom, my aunt, and my dear hubby. I promised my daughter I would run by her and high five her before I cross the finish line. I will do my best to ensure this promise is kept and I will try not to be bawling my eyes out yet. Yes, I get emotional at the ends of races too.