It's almost time. Usually I would say that I don't spend much time thinking about a race, fretting about it or contemplating its deep inner meaning or chewing the fat on what my mentality going into the race is. But for some reason, Boston just feels different to me. In alot of ways, I don't really even consider Boston an "A" race but in other ways it feels bigger than anything I have ever done. And over the past few days, I have turned the corner on my feelings, attitudes and mentality going into Boston. I am ready, ready as I'll ever be.
Boston is different. It is 25,000 people all who have struggled and fought to qualify and be there. It is the best of the best competing for $736,000 in total prize money (top 15 men and women). And I am a part of that. And that feels pretty cool. To me, it is one of those life "to do" things and checking it off the list is an accomplishment. And then there is the fact that I, little old me, is in the elite women's field. I have joked and made light of the significance of that, but it is a big deal. And it has been hard to not feel intimidated by it. I mean, as hard as I have trained, I am still going to find myself being pushed to the right hand side (per the instructions we are given) by the escort vehicles of the blinding speed of the lead men's pack. I am going to be one of the "slower elite women now being passed by the lead men" (as a commentator pointed out at the NYC Marathon on TV). I am going to be a standing at the start line with a bunch of women so tiny I feel like a linebacker, whose dust I will be eating in a matter of minutes, miles, moments. There is a strong possibility I will run the course completely by myself caught between the flying fast females at the front and the pursuing masses behind. I realized after going to the expo yesterday, that trying to not acknowledge my intimidation or not accepting the gravity of the situation was doing me and my ability to race well on Monday a huge disservice. Fact of the matter is, I am prepared and ready to go out on Monday and run MY race and achieve MY goal. My goal is to get the Olympic Qualifier. My goal is to get a PR. I have prepared and perhaps my chance will come. I don't know if I have managed to successfully fix my nutritional issues enough or if my legs are up to the challenge. What I do know is, for the first time in many months, I am excited and enthusiastic about the race. I am looking forward to it. It will be fun. Instead of moping, wondering what I could have done better or feeling unnaturally hard on myself, I am going to actually go and run the race first. Novel concept huh?I am finally learning that I can allow myself a mentality that is predicated on confidence instead of self-doubt, I can allow myself to positively envision the reality I want instead of fearing the worse. And I am going to go into this race without dread, without trepidation. When I don my F35 number, I am going to do so proudly because I have earned it. Just as everyone else toeing the line on Monday has, I have earned the spot in which I stand.
And so, no matter what happens on Monday, good, bad or otherwise, I am going to infuse each step with passion, with pride and with confidence. And even more importantly, I am just going to enjoy the hell out of the journey.