In February, the registration for the Twin Cities Marathon opened, and I wrote about my mixed feelings— happy and so excited for my friends who are running (especially first-timers!) and sad and a bit jealous that I could not join.
It is 5 days until the gun marks the start of the 31st Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. Living and working extremely close to the finish area, it has been fun to watch the City of Saint Paul prep the neighborhood– road closed signs are posted and the finish area fencing went up this morning. Summit Avenue is absolutely on fire with beautiful fall colors and are going to be a wonderful way to welcome runners to the finish line. I am running the 10 Mile (The Shortcut to the Capitol) and I am excited. But some of those same feelings of sadness and jealousy surrounding the marathon have revisited lately. They are further complicated by my indecision over whether or not I want to train for a marathon next spring or focus on a different health goal that has been nagging at me for a while.
Just like this spring, however, I am choosing to be just excited and honor those negative feelings but not invite them to stay, because this weekend brings so many things to be excited for.
I won’t allow myself to forget that this is an anniversary of an incredibly important milestone for me. The anniversary of the day I told myself I wasn’t going to quit, no matter what. The anniversary of the day in which a simple, 5 hour 57 minute run/jog/limp-when-you-must gave me more self-confidence than anything I had done in a long time. The anniversary of my marathon– a hard faught battle physically, mentally, and emotionally. (Also the anniversary of a $100 race entry fee that magically morphed into $800 of doctor and physical therapy fees… meh, details).
I am excited to be running the 10 Mile. Taking a summer off of marathon training gave me the time in my schedule to do other things– like a Warrior Dash and enjoying weekends away with friends without worrying about getting a long run in. Plus, 10 miles is not a distance to scoff at. 4 years ago, I ran my first 5K in 43 minutes. I have come a long way from that girl.
Mostly, my excitement is for the marathoners– so many of my friends are tackling this milestone for the first time. Just like I shared in February, training for and running a marathon will take you on an incredible journey if you let it and because it is nearly impossible to explain (and always makes me cry), I am so excited that my friends will have this experience. It is a blessing (even though it feels like a curse somewhere– everywhere– between miles 15 and 21)!
So, my thoughts for you, marathoners, whether this be you first, your fiftieth, your last, your best, or your worst:
It’s okay to be proud just crossing the start line. That takes weeks of practice and a courage many do not understand.
Be good to yourself physically. Take time to address pain. Take time to hydrate. Eat something. Take advantage of the shade.
Be best to yourself mentally. Some runners are faster than you– don’t compare. That hill is not too steep to run up, so don’t tell yourself it is. If you hit a mental wall, reach out to another runner, the good ones will support you. It will get hard but you don’t have to beat yourself up, the first half of Summit Avenue will do that for you.
Enjoy yourself. Absorb the energy of the crowd– we will be there to cheer YOU on and we are proud of you. Finish strong.