And here we are.
In the final week.
Days before the race…
Constantly checking the weather.
It’s going to rain!
Wait, no! There’s sun! LOTS of sun!
Nope…it’s going to be warm. Too warm! NOOOOO.
(OHIO). Too cold!
Look at that projected wind!
It’s like Goldilocks and the three bears. Trying to find that weather that is juuusssst right.
Meanwhile our loved ones are living with our anxiety, having morphed into expert meteorologists overnight.
And you question whether you should get one last speed session in. One last long run.
Can I squeeze in Clocked?
[Oh don’t be fooled, I’M not asking that…but, I know others do].
You get the taper crazies. Your body is telling you to move. You know you need to rest.
The only comfort is the memory of the hard work you have done throughout training.
And, the only thing that haunts you, are the workouts you missed.
But I plan to focus on the good ones.
I’ve also decided to stop the comparisons. With my former self, my former training seasons.
That shit serves no one and nothing.
I’ll never be 2015 Emily. And that’s OK.
We need 2018 Emily to show up and be her best self. To celebrate thatsuccess here and now.
Because, at the end of the day, here’s the thing—
When I started running, I never dreamed I could run a 5k, a 10k, or a half marathon.
Are you kidding me?
I had never imagined running marathons, ultras, or having the potential to qualify for Boston.
I just wanted to be the person who could run 3 miles…and then casually tell EVERYONE at work.
I just wanted to call myself a runner.
Before I knew what anaerobic threshold, negative splits or hitting the wall meant.
I just ran. And I was so freakin’ ecstatic I could.
Like, badass city.
Look out for Emily.
And though I’d love to PR, to go back to Boston, to see my abs again (I will throw a party for their homecoming)…
I need to remember that running was the victory.
And running still is the victory.
If my nerves start to get the best of me come Thursday or Friday night, I’ll think back to the first time I ran five miles:
I was so stinkin’ proud of myself. It was at that moment I qualified myself as "a runner". I never thought I was disciplined enough to make it that far. Other people got up at the crack of dawn, in the dead of winter, or in the holy-shit heat to run. They had something I didn't. I just had excuses.
I remember wishing I had that grit. That toughness. Somehow, somewhere I broke through. I can't remember what made me start but I’m so thankful I did. It was the first time I felt capable of anything.
There was no medal. No race tech shirt. No one around to notice. It was February--at the University Rec Center's indoor track. I ran in the same Nikes that I mowed the yard in.
I had told myself I didn’t deserve running shoes until I became a “runner”. [Again, whatever that means].
I don't even know what my time was. I had no watch. I just counted the laps. 9 made a mile. 45 laps.
To distract my mind from asking why I would do something like run in a circle 45 times, I’d decide on a letter for each lap…and come up with words starting with that letter.
Parrot. Pirate. Pineapple. Persuasion. Period. Purpose. Professor. Prison.
Yes, this feels like prison. I am in a prison. A multi-lane prison.
STOP IT, EMILY!
Papyrus. Pepper. Paprikash…Billy Crystal.‘When Harry Met Sally’ He was soooo good in that.
Plate. Platelet.‘What is a platelet anyways. It has to do with blood…but I don’t really know after that…”
Porsche. Porpoise. Are those different from dolphins?Passion. Passionfruit. Pathway. Pattern.
I see a pattern. These damn circles.
Lap 1 done.
And I did that 44 more times.
I quietly celebrated...........and called everyone I knew. "Yeah, Amanda? I know we didn't really hit it off as college roommates our freshman year [because you ate my Spicy Nacho Doritos] but guess what?....I'm a runner! No, really! I ran FIVE MILES!"
Maybe the endorphin high I now experience would have helped that roommate dynamic.
I’m going to run Cap City and focus on how grateful I am that I can.
That I’m back in it. That I’m a runner. That five miles is amazing—and I do it.
Because no matter how fast or ‘slow’ my time is when I cross that finish line, it is always a bit of a surprise that I did. That I can do it. That I wasn’t just dreaming last night that I was a runner and woke up wishing I could be a runner.
At the starting line on Saturday morning, I’ll go back in my mind, remember those 45 laps on an indoor track.
The six years of competitive running that followed.
The hardship that made me stop.
And the SOS family that encouraged me to start again.
Wherever you are in this SOS journey, I hope you remember where you started and be damn thankful that you did.