For the past month, this has been the question that is first and foremost on my mind. Back in June, my mom and I decided it would be a great idea to both sign up for the Portland Marathon and run it together (note: not side by side, but we’ll meet each other at the finish). She would come visit me in Portland, we’d hang out and kill a couple of birds with one stone 🙂
Back in June, the Portland Marathon seemed really far away. Never mind that I hadn’t been running consistently for the past year. I figured that if my mom signed us up and spent all the money on the entrance fees and on a plane ticket to come see me, that would be incentive enough for me to get my butt in gear and lace up my running shoes. Every day that I hadn’t been running mentally demoralized me anyway, I MISSED IT THAT MUCH. And for the most part it worked, I’ve ramped up my running in the past couple of months and have started logging semi-long runs of 10-13 miles like I used to. It’s nowhere near what I was once doing ( I went through a period of a couple of years in high school where I was logging a 20 mile long run once a week) but it’s definitely made me happier lately and I’ve gained back a lot of the fitness that I perceived myself to have lost while I was on hiatus. But is it enough?
The Portland Marathon is this Sunday, it’s Tuesday, which means it is 5 days away. There is not much more I can do, fitness wise, to prepare. I will keep logging some pretty decent runs for the rest of this week but that’s mostly to appease my nerves. That’s really what it’s gonna come down to this Sunday, my mental readiness. I’ve been so nervous that I am not ready, but truthfully, being physically ready is only half of the battle in endurance running. The other 50% is your mental confidence. In athletics, mental confidence is a MUST. If you believe you can do it, your body will follow suit. But if you keep thinking “I can’t” then guess what, you most likely won’t. I knew this already, and having already run 8 marathons, I know that I CAN finish a marathon. I know what it takes and I have no illusions about the ordeal that lays before me. What has been worrying me in particular, is that I have ever before been this under prepared, I haven’t even logged a single run over 13 miles in the past year.
However, about a week ago, I was running and the same old mantra was looping through my head, “I’m not ready, I’m gonna die, this is gonna suck…” and then I had a re-epiphany: I needed to change my attitude. I need to believe in myself and soothe my body. And instantly, I started to feel better on my run. I needed to be a good running buddy to myself. I believe in myself. I recognize that I am not where I would like to be in my physical training, but I KNOW that I CAN do this. It may not be pretty this Sunday, but I at least know that I will finish. And having run this course two years ago, I am looking to forward to the scenery along the way. My absolute favorite part of the whole race is running across St. John’s Bridge in NW Portland at around mile 17. So we’ll see how it goes. But I know one thing: as long as I keep moving forward, I will finish the race!