If you’ve asked me any time in the past few weeks whether I’m excited about tomorrow’s marathon, I probably told you no. I may have said I’m not excited because of my recurring shin pain, or I’m not excited because I doubt I’ll finish in under 4 hours, or I’m not excited because I’ve been training for too damn long, or I’m not excited because – let’s be honest — it’s not the epic November 2015 event that I’m most excited about this month. This is:
For the past several weeks, I’ve been decidedly not excited for anything related to this road race save for the prospect of it being over. But then something started to change, and in such small, incremental ways that I hardly noticed it at first.
- I stepped out onto 1st Avenue to discover they’d hung the infamous Marathon Route banners on the lampposts, and it made me smile.
- I went to an early birthday dinner with my cousin slash bestie who pointed out how much I’ve changed from the beginning of my 20s to the end of them, and it made me proud that I’m capping off this defining decade with a marathon.
- I popped into the race expo to pick up my bib, and when the volunteer working the 20,000-25,000 booth wished me luck this Sunday, it for the first time hit me that this elusive event that’s been on my calendar for SO DARN LONG is finally here.
- I treated myself to a pair of awesome stained glass inspired leggings at said expo, and for the first time in ages, it made me want to get outside and run in them. Not ‘til after the race, of course; no new leggings on race day, as amazing as they may be.
- I woke up to discover good luck flowers from my supportive boyfriend and a note wishing me luck this weekend, which is the sweetest, considering he’s been forced to wake up to my 5:30 a.m. running alarm all summer long, too.
- I stopped by the marathon pavilion at the site of the finish line yesterday to hear my physical therapist friend Leigh-Ann give an awesome presentation on post-race recovery, which made me super excited about that BLT I already know I’m going to eat in my ice bath in exactly 31 hours.
All of these events – plus the well wishes flowing in from friends and family in e-mails, texts and cards – would have probably been enough to successfully propel me out of my funk and get me excited about the fast-approaching big day. But just in case I needed one more thing to get me excited about tomorrow’s 26.2-mile event, guess who else I met at the marathon pavilion yesterday.
For those of you who don’t know (shame!), this is Meb Keflezighi, an Olympic silver medalist, the winner of the 2009 New York City Marathon, and — famously — the winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon one year after the bombing when it felt so symbolic that an American distance runner took home the title for the first time in more than 30 years. He’s a hero of mine, and hearing him wish me luck out there (and asking me not to beat him if I can help it — oh Meb, you jokester, you) got me more pumped than I ever could have imagined.
It may have taken me several months to feel this way, but now that the butterflies are here in my stomach, I don’t think they’re going anywhere until I step onto the Verrazzano Bridge in 24 short hours. The goal now is to get myself calm enough that I can sleep through the night, hold down some breakfast, and make it to the ferry on time.
After that, it’s all up to my legs. See you in Central Park, folks.