I never meant for this to turn into a blog about running (TRUST me), but given how much of that I've been doing, inevitably it ends up here. This weekend I will run my second half marathon in the city I love dearly, Milwaukee. I have a few thoughts about that I'd like to share with you.
First and foremost, I'd like to lodge a formal complaint with the race director for titling this inagural race a "mini-marathon". I get it, it's not a full marathon and that's a cute and clever way to call it something other than a half. But let me assure you, on behalf of all runners participating, I don't like anything about what I'm doing on Saturday to be referred to as "mini". The same sentiment applies to tiny, little, and quick. It's 13.1 damn miles, let's not pretend it's small.
Secondly, while it doesn't register all that often any more (hardly ever, really) the date of this particular half marathon has some relevance. Saturday September 22nd was the date I had planned to marry the wrong man. I'm thankful things didn't work out and that instead of divorce I just lost a $500 deposit. And over the course of two years and the biggest changes I've had take over my life, instead of marrying him I'm set out to run my second half marathon.
Third, when I signed up for this half I wondered what I would feel like in comparison to my first. There are many differences between Napa and this one. I was traveling for that one. I had so many travel related distractions to think about. I was with a group and had someone telling me where to be and when. This time I have to figure that all out. Aside from a few friends from Team Challenge no one there knew me. I have friends running this race and cheering from the sidelines. My family will be there when I finish. My coach is going to be there. This is SO utterly exciting and just a smidge more pressure to perform well. There's witnesses this time. I'm running around a city I love with landmarks I know. It'll be difference scenery but I think equally exciting (minus the hills. Who would have thought I'd face more hills here than on a route through the Napa VALLEY?) I was worried about the weather but it looks like, thanks to Fall making an appearance, I'll have similar weather for this race as I did Napa.
Fourth and finally, I apologize to him right off the bat - Coach Marty doesn't take compliments well but that's tough luck because this is my damn blog and I'll say whatever I want, thankyouverymuch. I feel really excited for this race. I trained harder and more
responsibly this time. I was more aggressive with pacing throughout my
training and worked hard to get towards a consistent and achievable plan
on race day. Again, exciting but more pressure. The goal is no longer
just to finish and not die. I have a time in mind. And it's quite a bit
less than last time. And regardless of how many times he tells me I did all the work and he didn't do anything, I would not be where I am with this race if it wasn't for his coaching. I did train well and I worked hard. I physically did all the work to get to this point. But he has done so much for my confidence and found tricky little ways (Fartlek!) to get me to realize my abilities throughout the past 9 weeks that I know I would never feel this strongly about what I'm going to be able to accomplish on Saturday without his help. I have said on a number of occasions I don't know how people do this without a coach, but I'm amending that. I don't know how they do it without a Marty (and I'm not alone on this, see: any of my #Banangcakes time in which we sing his praises about all things Marty. We want to go to the School of Marty). He took all the worry away (worry = math & science to me). He figured out exactly what I wanted to be able to do, exactly what I needed to do in the mean time to get there and then totally talked me off the ledge far more times than necessary in between. If I did the physical work to get here, he did the emotional work.
I have said it before and will surely say it again - when it comes to physical ability I don't push myself as much as I'd like to. I like to play it safe and underestimate what I'm capable of. I needed more than someone who understands running and pacing plans, I needed someone to see ability when I couldn't. And, realistically, I needed someone comfortable with putting up with just a wee bit of runner crazies (wee might be a relative term depending on who you're asking). That and about a billion questions on a daily basis via text, e-mail and Twitter.
So because of me, and my Coach, and support of my family and friends I have just a short 3 mile run between me and my second half marathon. Yes, that just blew my mind again.