15 weeks down, 3 more to go.
Just 24 days now remaining until the 36th iteration of the Marine Corps Marathon.
Physically I am more ready than ever, and barring freak injury, I will rev up, dress up and head to the start line from my Georgetown hotel that morning 30 October.
Mentally, I’m more scared than ever. Blame it on the fear of the unknown. My body starts breaking down at mile 21, and the most vulnerable parts of me will either hold up or bring me down with them. Most vulnerable as in, my knees, and lately my right ankle.
My right ankle is always sore, and I find it hard to walk on it right after a long run, but it feels fine some time after running. It’s worse with intensity, so I will have to lighten it. On my last 16 mile run, it only became a problem towards the end, but I was going at it niiiiiiiiceeee and slooooooow.
But I am looking past fear and looking at each barrier I broke down. The first time I made the change. I’m just south of two years where I left my old firm 1 October 2009 and took that first step towards taking care of myself.
It was a bright and sunny Thursday afternoon, when I left that office for good. I had the remaining stuff of mine in my messenger bag and decided to cut through Rittenhouse Square on my way home. It was then that I saw people in running gear, running on Walnut Street. It’s a nice day to run and enjoy the fresh air, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.
I’ll never forget what happened that next day. If there was ever such a rude awakening that I received, the huffing and puffing from 18th to 19th Streets was it.
Two years later, my world is different in so many ways. The choice to run, along with the choices I’ve had to make around it. All around, a happier and healthier person.
It was one day in January that I decided to take the next step, emboldened to move forward – what if?
What if I could do 26.2?
I decided to be smart – locale and weather not too hot because dehydration and humidity would kill me, but lung capacity would be a serious issue if I picked a race where it would be too cold. That said, the Philly Marathon was out – having faced freezing temps in my first half marathon, risking such with a full was not happening.
Enter the late October MCM race in Washington DC. It couldn’t have been perfect. I love DC, perfect running weather on average and not too far from home: travel costs would be manageable. (NB: I have hotel rewards points for travel, but even those who had to pay can find decent rates.)
I marked my calendar: 23 February was registration day. It took seven hours before I could get on the website to register.
And now…that day was within the month.
Physically I’m ready. Mentally, I am more apprehensive. I’m more apprehensive of what will happen between Mile 21 (21 miles will be my longest run ever) and the finish line.
I remember myself 2 years and 25 pounds ago. Each barrier that I was able to break down happened because I believed in myself that I could take the little steps I needed to.
In the end, sometimes the hardest thing out there is believing in yourself.
I need to push myself past this barrier too.