With less than a week to my first marathon, my mind wanders and plays tricks. My body is puzzled about what to expect. After all where the mind goes, the body follows. I had heard that the body cannot know what’s coming.
There is no spoon. A random movie cliche popped into my head. I assume it is purely an association with the fact that there is no turning back or no turn-off ramps. Do not take the exit fork in the road. There is a decision point – a fork in the road, hence no spoon. At this point, being under-trained, I can make the decision to pull out of the feat of endurance, that is the marathon; or, continue to hurtle along the road until I reach the point of no return – Sunday, race day.
All my previous runs have led to this one penultimate event. More than 20 weeks of training and mental preparations. Yet I have not run any further than a half marathon. No three-hour or 30-kilometre runs under my belt. Do I dare continue hurtling down this road of over 42 kilometres?
Conflicting advice received from veteran runners, whom had done marathons. In the one camp, strong advice against attempting a marathon when under-trained. I must have run at least a long run of three-hours in duration or done a 30 kilometre run. That will help me understand the mental and physical fortitude required to complete the feat. One runner advised on a 18-month training regime before attempting a marathon. Otherwise, I may probably fail and hit the proverbial wall at the three-quarter marathon mark. In the other camp, the prognosis is much more positive. Try and enjoy the race and the day. I must pace myself for the first 30 or so kilometre. I have to keep hydrating and eating regularly to keep my energy levels up, so I don’t deplete my body’s own stores too early. I cannot start out too fast. Being under-trained is not the show-stopper to completing the marathon. It does mean I am not over exhausted from too much training or injury prone from too much run training. However, it does mean that I will have to be mindful of pacing myself and trying to enjoy the experience. Almost Will myself across the finish line. Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.
I think I will suffer but who has not suffered for their craft, their passion, or their hobby. It is probably one of the things that defines who we are – how much are we willing to endure for our passions. It is most probably not the suffering that I will remember the most but the completion of the race. After all pain and suffering is temporary but the victory of completing 42.2km or 26.2miles will stay with me forever.
There is no spoon… it is all in my head. It will be mind over matter. Game on! Or rather, run strong!