Saturday, January 16, 2010


Tomorrow, I will be at the start line of the first marathon of my life. 42.195 kilometers! The distance seems daunting- I have never before attempted anything longer than half the distance.
I am insane. I haven’t completely recovered from my recent cold, and various health related issues have ensured that any training schedule I may have tried to follow never stood much chance of being put into practice. I should be sitting at home watching the run on TV. If I had to be there, I should be lining the route cheering the runners and handing out energy drinks. I should not have a bib pinned to my t-shirt, and a timing-chip attached to my running shoes.
I should not be at the start line, and yet that is where I would be, chanting two things – ‘finish the race’, ‘do it in less than 6 hours’. At my current level of fitness, I am unlikely to do it in less than 6 hours. Actually, that is a misstatement – at my current level of fitness, it is unlikely I will finish at all. And yet, I know I will never be able to live with myself, if I slink away from the challenge.
When I was having a crisis of confidence before my first race, a friend told me that no matter how long I look, no matter how I did it, I should finish the race. He told me the same thing before my second race, and before my third. The pattern was emerging, and when I confronted him, he told me that the secret to long distance running was to treat every race as your first, and to aim to finish. Nothing else really mattered- not your time, not your time relative to others, not your time relative to your best. The only thing that mattered was to get there, and to finish.
Which is all I would be attempting to do tomorrow– to finish. Because running a long race is a little like living- you have to do what you have to do, because that is the only thing to do.
When I survive tomorrow, if I survive tomorrow, I will let you know how I did.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Best of luck with it! That's fantastic that you're taking on a big run like that. Finishing a project is always the important matter how long it takes!

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Jan Morrison said...

Doing the Dublin Marathon was a fantastic exercise for me. Finishing is the only thing and enjoying the process while you're doing it -because you can. You really can. I'll be thinking of you dear person. Have a wonderful time and can't wait to congratulate you afterwards!

Watery Tart said...

I agree with your friend Natasha--however you need to do it, finishing is what matters. Best of luck! You are what, 9 1/2 hours ahead of me? You are soundly sleeping, I hope, but when you get up, hopefully all is in line for a great day!

dipali said...

You'll be running as I write this!
Waiting to hear of your successful completion of the marathon. You're a champion!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Girls, I DID IT!!! Finished after the race was officially over, but unlike a thousand others, I completed it! Couldn't have done it without all of you.

@ Elizabeth - Absolutely. Someone asked me why I am so obstinate- I told him I am not obstinate, I just hate quitting.

@ Jan - now that I am done, I can tell you there is nothing as satisfying as completing a marathon.

@ Tami - yes, I was sleeping, and yes, I did it! Thursday girls never give up, do they?

@ Dipali - you heard it - yes I did.


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