Well, here we are. It's Saturday morning, and I've got my coffee and my pre-marathon jitters. Last night I woke up at 4:00, convinced that I had just missed the Marathon Expo, where I pick up my timing chip and bib... I didn't really go back to sleep. So here I am.
And Tomorrow Is The Marathon. 26.2 miles of running through 29 Chicago neighborhoods, and I'm going to be there. For the whole thing, I hope. For the Elvis impersonsator; for the boystown cheerleaders; for my friends in my 'hood that will hopefully be up and at the end of our street cheering me on; for the Pilsen mariachi band; for the Chinatown dragons; for the "International Mile"; for the countless childrens' outstretched hands and yells of support; and for the final stretch down Michigan Avenue that I know from word of mouth and from spectating experience is one lonely piece of road where it's just you, your feet, and your determination.
I'm hoping to finish -- nagging injuries all season have kept me from my initial goals, so now I'm wavering between signing up with a pace group and just slogging it out on my own. I fear that with a pace group, my natural inclination toward competition and pushing myself too far will take over, and I'll blow up around mile 20. Or mile 25.
And blowing up is just unacceptable. I've vowed that, no matter what, I'll finish this darn race. I've run my long runs, and I've put in the time. At 32, this summer I've gotten my body into the best shape it's ever been in, and I'm just asking it to do this one last thing before it can soften and slow down for the winter. I'm really hoping that it cooperates... But even if I have to Woman Up and walk it for the last 10, I want that medal. I've earned it.
I've got to get ready to pick up SJV and go to the expo. I'll send updates tomorrow, after the race, and in a few days I'll have some photos from Belly's First Marathon...
Wish me luck!
One foot in front of the other...
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