On being a slow runner and approaching race day.

In about 16 days I will participate in my first marathon.  This running a marathon thing seemed like an awesome idea when I signed up, back in December.  It’s seemed like an awesome idea while I’ve been training; I have genuinely enjoyed the training runs, especially the long ones.  I love to be out, by myself, doing something that tests my limits.  I love the extended amount of thinking time, I love listening to interesting podcasts, I love telling people I just ran 20 miles (or whatever).

Now, though, I’m thinking a lot about race day.  Perhaps this is what they refer to as the taper crazies.  I’m starting to feel nervous and I’m starting to doubt a little.  I mean, it’s one thing to run 20 miles by yourself where no one can see you.  It’s a totally different thing to do it when there will be other people around.

Yesterday I got a text from a family member saying that their dental hygienist is running the same marathon that I am and she wants to know what time I’m shooting for.  I have two answers for that question.  The first answer is: this is my first marathon, my goal is really just to finish.  And that is true, it really is.  But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have an idea of where I’d like to finish.  So, I texted back and said my big goal was just finishing but that I was hoping to finish around 5:30.  The response text was: oh, she’s shooting for 3:50.

I hate stuff like that.  Yes, I am a slow runner.  I probably always will be.  I don’t even care that much (usually).  But sometimes I feel a little judged about it.  This is especially true when talking to non-runners.  I don’t know why but it seems like every non-runner I talk to things all marathoners finish like Desi Linden.  Truth is, running a marathon is hard.  Not everyone can do it in under 3 hours!

So, here’s the thing.  I’m going to run a marathon.  I will take walk breaks from time to time.  It will take me more than 5 hours.  If it’s a bad day, it could take 6 hours. But I will finish.  And it will be awesome.

I’ll probably keep repeating the last two sentences to myself.  So I can remember.