20 Weeks later… and 42.2km to go

Just two sleeps to go and I’ll be on the starting gate for my first marathon event.  To think that I couldn’t even have imagined myself running, let alone a marathon, just a short three years ago. This is also the culmination of years of watching the Olympic Games and my favorite event to watch is the Marathon.  I remember watching the Sydney Olympics marathon in 2000.  I remember driving on those road where they’ve painted a blue line for the runners. I never could have known I’d be running one.

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I’ve plucked up enough courage. Thanks in part to ready some of John “The Penguin” Bingham’s work, I got enough courage to sign up for my marathon early this year and went for a 20 week training plan.

I had some challenges along the way when other commitments (including some weekend long distance hiking) mean that I had to skip a long run or two. Thus, I am now ‘under-trained’.  I have not done any distance beyond a half marathon. I have not run for more than 2 hours. I am in a world of pain (*laughs).  Pain is the body letting me know that I am alive.  There is no better feeling than to feel alive – it is part of the reason I run.

Listening to conflicting advice from various veteran runners (who have done multiple marathons), I am torn mentally. Nonetheless, that training ship has sailed and I’m definitely way past the point of no return.  This is going to be it.

My first marathon, under-trained but not without mental training. The last couple of weeks, more so this entire week, have been one of inner contemplation and building up my mental fortitude and focus to carry me through 42.2 km of road.

I will need to pace myself literally and mentally. The first 20 or so kilometres should pose no problem. The second half is the Unknown. I don’t fear the Unknown, not anymore. Others have been there. The Unknown is not unknowable. I just need to get there.  I can’t get there reading a book, nor listening to other marathoners, not watching marathon events.  I just have to be there and get it done.

My thoughts wander to accept that I just need to surrender to the process. I will have to give up a few thoughts that are in my mind but gain a few others along this experience. Run, pace, hydrate, consume (nutrition), repeat. Place one foot in front of the other, repeat. I will absorb the ambience and enjoy the passing scenes. Sydney is a beautiful city and I get to do this on foot. It’s the only way to experience the essence of this city.

There are the Start and Finish gates. Everything else in the middle is for me to own, 42.2 kilometres.  I will own it.  I’ll tell you how I go when I get there.

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