In just about 72 hours, that's what I'll be doing. I'm ridiculously excited and after re-reading some of my older blog posts, have realized just how far I've come. Not just physically, but mentally - I have tackled so many things that scared me in the last five or so months, sometimes it's hard to believe. And I've been fortunate to have an unbelievable amount of support from family and friends throughout this process. Thinking back a year ago, or even six months ago, the challenge of running this thing was daunting and overwhelming! Running a marathon seemed like a crazy, impossible feat! And it is! But one of the downsides of all the months of hard work is the realization that your goal is attainable - barring any sort of catastrophe, it's going to happen. The transformation from taking on this enormous task and wondering how the heck you'll accomplishment to getting to the point where you can and will finish takes a huge amount of time and energy. And it seems just a little less special and amazing - if I can do it, what's stopping anyone else from doing it, too?
The answer to that is nothing. Anyone who wants to make the time and commitment to train for a marathon can run it. But making the sacrifices and pouring everything you can into the commitment to that goal - that is what makes it truly special. Knowing that you have had the courage to stand up to unknowns and pit yourself against each challenge that comes up along the way without a guaranteed outcome has chipped away at the impossibility at the task at front of you until all of a sudden, it looks reasonable. One of my first blog entries referenced a quote by Henry David Thoreau that said "if you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them." I so vividly remember what compelled me to write that entry - I had just signed up with Team in Training to try to secure a marathon spot. I had built my castle in the air, and was giddy with excitement. Looking back, I think about each day that laid a foundation: each practice, whether it was in the 98 degree heat, the morning of a hurricane, in a torrential downpour, or the beginning of a freak October snowstorm, about all the aches and pains, and runs on sore and tired legs, all of the runs where I felt amazing, and all of the runs where I felt terrible or had to cut it short. I thought of the disappointment and frustration I felt at so many times. And I thought about how, each time, I got back up and faced my fears and frustrations, and what a scary, uncomfortable feeling that was. That's a bit how I feel now, the last few days leading up to race day. But I know I will be able to handle it - I know I can get through it. And I know that when I cross the finish line, I will have done so with courage of which I didn't realize I was capable, and resolve that I didn't know existed.