Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 282 - Marathon Eve

You've trained for months. All of those long runs. All of those early mornings. All of those miles.

You've tapered for a couple weeks, going from running way too much, to hardly running at all. You're body's very confused. And it takes it out on you, driving you crazy.

You've packed and traveled and checked into your hotel, never without a bottle of water in your hand.

You've picked up your packet and cruised the expo. The Expo is tough. You've spent some many weeks training, alone, wondering if it's really worth it, if you're going to make it, if you might just be stupid or crazy or both. And suddenly you find yourself surrounded by thousands of people just as crazy/stupid as you are. These are your people, and they make you feel welcome, and sane.

And the Expo is jammed with gear and Gu and goodies. There are shoes you've never seen before, and jackets with the race logo, and socks, so many types of socks, and chair massages, and running celebrities. It's like our version of F.A.O. Schwartz.

But you don't dare spend too much time at the Expo, 'cause all that time is spent on your feet.

You know that carbo-loading the night before a marathon is not only 24 hours too late, but also can lead to carbo-booting during the race. So you pass on the over-priced over-cooked spaghetti and spend time and precious steps looking for something light and easily digested.

Back at the room, it's OCD time. Race day gear is unpacked and inventoried. You pin your race number on, just so. Then you lay it all out on the hotel desk. Then you notice that your number is just a bit crooked, and that just won't do. And since you've disturbed the order, you need to re-take the inventory, just to be safe. And then you wonder if maybe you should go with that other pair of socks, the slightly thicker, or slightly thinner pair.  And you double check that your chip is securely fastened. Very. Securely. Fastened. Inventory, just one more time.

Then the toughest part... bed time.

You need rest. You need sleep. You need to stop staring at the ceiling. All you can think about is how you really need to get to sleep... now. All that training will be wasted if you don't sleep.

Alarm check! Yes... it's set. AM, not PM. Check. Ok... it's cool.

The minutes tick. And tock. And you tell yourself that everything is taken care of. But you go over your strategy, over, and over. You get up to pee, over, and over. And you check the clock, over, and over. Rinse and repeat...

And finally, you awaken to the strange hotel alarm, and a sleepy smile slides across your face.

It's marathon day.

No, I'm not running a marathon this year. But seeing my friends preparing has me feeling nostalgic, and jealous, and eager to sign up for one.

To those running, or who have loved ones running Chicago tomorrow, or other marathons this season... Congratulations on making it to the starting line. The hard part is over, now enjoy your reward. Good luck, and...

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 rough miles, penance for skipping a day of the ice bath.