So, here I am, at the Tides Waterfront Hotel in Melbourne, Florida, on the eve of my second marathon.
This marathon is spiritually (if not statistically) significant for me. While I learned a lot from Philly, as a person and an athlete, I was not going through as many personal crises and had more time to focus on self-awareness and self-awakening as I wandered the streets of Philly alone. Now there's the financial crisis, my health crises, emotional crises and recent "breakup." (Sure, we weren't boyfriend and girlfriend, but when you go from someone's 'baby' to nothing, it hurts.) Of course, all of this was starting around the time I did Philly, and my marriage was falling apart, but I felt so hopeful and alive when I was there, like an explorer cracking open a map to an exciting, if not frightening, foreign world.
Melbourne is only an hour away from home, the weather and the people are the same I've always known, and I'm already alone, so it's not like I'm doing anything different.
But that is also advantageous, I suppose. My hotel is only 1 mile from the start of the race, so I have only 1 mile to walk to the start, no trains or cabs to catch, and I can sleep until 5am - hell, let's be honest, 5:30 if I want. I have more experience, a better strategy, and some amazing friends. Tomorrow's weather is going to start in the 50s and be clear, end up in the high 60s (read: no freezing rain!), my sinusitis is not even A QUARTER as bad as it was before Philly, and I'm down 19 pounds now, so I'm almost the size I was for that race.
Without further adieu, some random facts about this race . . .
- This is the FIRST race I've ever broken in. There's never been a Melbourne and the Beaches Marathon before.
- Bill Rodgers is here. It's a Master's Championship race.
- The toilet paper holder here is at an angle and the TP keeps slipping off the holder.
- Of course I'm wearing red. Red is my Power Color.
- I'm number 1594. This number means nothing to me. But I don't care. I have my lucky gloves, lucky necklace, and a lot of personal angst that I hope will fuel me through 6 hours of running.
- I was just told 1594 breaks down to the number 10 in numerology, which means a leader or pioneer with timeless freedom from limitations and eternal conscious energy. WHOA.
- This marathon has four bridge crossings. Not 1, not 3, but FOUR. It's a two-loop 13.1-mile course, which is both frustrating and encouraging. At least I can use mental "markers" to help me get through rough spots instead of searching ahead, wondering what's next.
- I am following the same strategy I started with, a run/walk plan. This is based partly on my Philly experience. If I hadn't stopped to pee and lost my pace group, the run/walk strategy could have taken me to a finish an hour and a half sooner, if not an hour.
- Bondi Bands, baby! I got a pink one that says 26.2, a red one that says TRI GIRL, and a snazzy patterned one with other colors on it.
Tonight I've got a couple songs going through my head. And, as we all know, this has a lot to do with tomorrow's marathon.
Try a little help from my friends
I’ve got another confession my friend
I’m no fool
I’m getting tired of starting again
Were you born to resist or be abused?
I swear I’ll never give in
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
And the beat goes on . . .
You'll notice this title is "almost a marathon," not "almost a marathon-ER" as it was for Philly. Well, duh. That's because I already AM a marathoner. As bad as tomorrow could be, even if I were to give up (which we all know I'm not), nothing and no one can take away from me that I'm already capable of covering 26.2 miles, or work out for 6-9 hours straight, on my own will alone.
And now we're going to cover an exercise we use in Positive Psychology. It's called What's the Worst That Could Happen? (It's also called What's the Best That Could Happen?) Basically, this is a Self-Induced, Big Fat Reality Check. What you do is this: when something (or things) really bother(s) you, you sit down and ask yourself: What's the Worst That Could Happen? You have to get as ridiculous as possible. Preposterous, out of control, impossibly horrible. To the point where you're in tears laughing because you KNOW that there is no way in HELL (or heaven) that a SINGLE part of what you're thinking could happen.
For example, about my relationships, I could say: "Well, the guy doesn't want to date me." No, worse than that. "NO guy wants to date me." No, worse than that. "No one wants to be around me." Then you eventually end up dying alone from some non-existent flesh-eating disease that you contracted because you got chase across country by man-eating mosquitoes because no one wanted you around and you giggle yourself into a coma.
Come on, REALLY.
Then you ask yourself: What's Most LIKELY To Happen? The answer will always - and I mean ALWAYS - fall somewhere in the middle. "I meet someone better, eventually." Ok, moving on.
The next step is to consider What's the BEST That Could Happen? Again, you have to get outlandish. Think of something from one end of the spectrum to the other. The best is, he misses me and wants to start things back up. No, better - I come home tomorrow and he pops by with flowers to celebrate my race and apologize. No, BETTER! He proposes. NO, BETTER! He ends up being from an enormously wealthy family and offers for me to go back to college and get my PhD. No, BETTER! He buys me my own planet and I end up being GODDESS of the ENTIRE GALAXY!
Heh. I'm laughing just typing this.
Coming back to the middle now: What's Most LIKELY To Happen? He realizes he lost a good girl and feels like an ass.
Ok, now let's apply this philo to the race but I'll spare you my pendulum-swinging and tell you what I got when I came back to the middle . . . What's Most Likely to Happen is that I have a very hard, somewhat painful race but end up beating my time from Philly, crying at the finish line, hurting for a few days and feeling like a ROCK STAH!
Wrap it up. I'll take it.
Good night. Tomorrow I'll have lots more to say.