About this time last year, I was freaking out a little. OK, I was freaking out a lot. And besides the usual obsessive-compulsive checking of the weather forecast, I'm not freaking out too much this time. Of course, we're still 4 days out. Check back with me in 48 hours, and it might be a different story.
So, for now at least, what's the difference? If anything, I'm probably less prepared physically to hit 5:00 this time than I was last year, for a couple of reasons. My last long run had to be cut short, and it was slower than last year's last LSD. I've missed more runs in the past three weeks because of the trip to Colorado. My weight is still higher than I'm comfortable with for this distance, although it is back to about where I was last year. My old shoes don't have another mile left in them, and yet my new ones barely arrived this afternoon, so I won't have a chance to do more than 2-3 miles in them at a stretch. With all this, why am I calmer? More collected?
My calmness might have something to do with the Marathon Maniacs thing I've got planned. I know that I'll have another chance to hit 5:00 in the next two months if I don't get it this time. Does that mean I don't want it bad enough for Saturday? Not at all. I just know it's not my only chance.
But, really, I think it has to do with all the changes that have gone on in my life in the past 12 months since I last toed the line at a marathon. We've faced such major life changes and life challenges in our family that something like whether I cross the finish line at an arbitrarily-set time isn't really all that important to me anymore. Again, do I want it? Will it be a huge accomplishment if I break 5:00 and lose that monkey? Oh, hell yeah. But, will anything change if I don't? Will my friends and family respect me less? Will my sons be disappointed in me? No, not really. OK, the kids might harass me a bit, but they also respect the distance and realize the effort that I've put in to even complete the race. So, to put in terms from my work-life for a moment, the under-5:00 finish is less of a critical business requirement and more of a nice-to-have. I'll be beyond thrilled when it finally happens, either Saturday, or at Big D, or in Oklahoma City, or hell, even in NYC, but if it doesn't happen, my life will go on. Nothing fundamental about ME and who I am will change, either way. I know that I will reap the reward of my work one day, and that in time it will happen.
That's where I am right now. All I can hope for is good weather (please, please, please, NO WIND!!), a healthy body, a positive attitude, and faith that all the work I've done so far will carry me to the finish, upright and smiling.