I distinctly remember the anxiety I felt about a half mile into the NYC Marathon on November 6th of last year. As I moved along the gradual incline of the Verrazano Bridge I felt this sense of discomfort and dread that I had such a long way left to go. I had trained and come so far, but those 25+ miles left for me seemed like an eternity.
I remember at mile 17, running up First Avenue, when everyone had told me to enjoy it, because it was the best part of the course, how miserable I was, how tired my legs felt, and how much I wanted to be done. How I couldn't wait for this torture to be over with. How I couldn't remember why doing this damn marathon was a good idea.
I remember crossing the finish line, and how numb I felt, how I couldn't really understand what had just transpired. How drained I felt, how it was all over, and I couldn't really comprehend it.
I signed up for the marathon to pull myself out of my ordinary-ness, to shake the malaise that I had allowed to rule my life, to prove to myself that I could do something extraordinary. I felt so under-prepared on that bridge into Brooklyn, so unsure of my abilities, and unaware of what kind of obstacles, physical or mental, I might face to get to the end. My training was not perfect - far from it. In those months I learned to stretch the fabric of my mental stamina to its limits, and then past that. When I struggled, I had to regroup, switching gears to accomplish what I had set out to do. When I had to make an emergency porta-potty-pit-stop at mile 23, I had to make up time in order to make my goal, forcing my legs to keep moving, and faster, harder, than they were, or wanted to, or I thought I could.
And I keep reminding myself that this anxiety I am feeling is not foreign, but that doesn't make it any less uncomfortable. I have been there before, maybe not in this particular sense, but I have tackled obstacles and unknowns of this magnitude. If anything, I needed to tackle the marathon before I could even get to this point, to prove to myself my capabilities for strenuous effort towards a goal.
I am feeling so many things right now - anxiety over the next two days, uncertainty, but also a feeling of accomplishment to have gotten this far. Looking back, it's kind of unbelievable to me that I have been able to do all of this in the past year - run a marathon, graduate law school, and now, sit for the bar exam. And while I am anxious, I can't help but feel proud of myself for my efforts. I may not feel totally prepared, but I think I have a pretty good chance of passing, and if nothing else, I feel like I am putting my best efforts forward.