Nineteen weeks of preparation is finally in the bag…today, I am off to Italy to run the Palermo marathon. I’m confident I’ve done everything possible to ensure a good run, now it’s up to the running gods to reward or punish me on Sunday. Hopefully, I’ve made sufficient sacrifices along the way to appease them!
So let the 7 stages of marathon begin:
1) Ritual – I’ve trained religiously, sticking to my coaching program despite a punishing October travel schedule and a week of a vicious stomach virus (during peak training, no less). I’ve tried out my raceday gear, practiced my pacing and fueling strategies. I’ve packed a separate carryon bag containing just my running stuff–a ritual I’ve practiced for years, as I don’t want anyone handling my precious cargo lest it be molested or lost along the way. I’ve stopped eating spicy/fatty/dairy foods to clear my intestines, and hydrate to the max. The night before the race, I’ll lay out all my gear, just so, pin my number/attach my chip go to bed early. Breakfast race day will be soy milk and a kashi bar (packed in my carryon, of course).
2) Shock-despite all my preparation, I’m still surprised that the race is here so soon. Yep, I’m leaving for Italy in less than an hour, tomorrow, I will be in Palermo, and Sunday, I will be running my 12th marathon. I still can’t believe it…
3) Denial – A few days ago, I found out that my race registration is incomplete…hopefully, I will be able to straighten out the technical issue that has been identified as the problem ( they cannot find my electronic payment) when I get to Palermo. It’s remotely possible that I will not be allowed to officially compete…Denial, in the most literal sense.
Nothing in marathon running is certain…I’ve learned that no amount of careful preparation guarantees a smooth and successful race. I’ll figure out and resolve the registration issue, or, I’ll run bandit. Marathoning is all about flexibility, and knowing when to adjust your plan and strategy to get the best results. Go with it, and enjoy the run…that’s my intent!
And, after meeting up with Isolation, Despair, Renewal and Affirmation along the route, I’m off on a well deserved vacation! Man, I love this sport!