Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's not about the race

I guess I should say it's not just about the race. Back in April, when I got my NYC Marathon race number, this whole crazy scheme was mostly about running a marathon. But as the months have passed, my goals and plans and expectations have changed dramatically, and for the better.

My goal for the marathon isn't to run it fast, because I know that it's just not possible. The summer heat and my limited training hours make it highly unlikely that I'm going to run anything resembling a pr. But instead of beating myself up about it or being worried about my time, I'm focused on enjoying the experience. This may be my only chance to run NYC, so I'm going to make sure I soak in the whole thing - from fireworks in Central Park the night before the race to the massive staging area on Staten Island to the post-race party by the Tavern on the Green. My goal is to run the marathon with a smile on my face the whole way.

The side benefits from my training have been tremendous. While I'm not in great marathoning shape, I am in pretty good running shape. I knocked out 8 miles this morning despite terrible humidity and a stomach bug on Thursday morning that wiped me out.

For the first time in more than four years, I feel like I can legitimately refer to myself as a runner, and that is a huge confidence boost for me. Running has been a major part of my life for 15 years, and I'm thrilled that I'm back to running on a regular basis and putting in some serious miles on the weekends.

I'm also in better shape than I've been in since before I was pregnant with Campbell. I finally have my body back after a decade of pregnancy and nursing, and it's a good feeling. Instead of not admitting my age, I've been proudly telling people I'm 40. I think I look and feel pretty darn good for my age.

During our run this morning, one my friends asked if I was glad I'd taken on this quest, and my answer was an immediate and unequivocal YES. Despite my occasional bouts of self-doubt, training for NYC is the best possible gift I could have given myself for my birthday.

Plus, the trip to New York is going to be awesome. I'm going with two of my best friends, and we're staying at the corner of 80th and Columbus, right across the street from the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History, so I'll be spending my free time stalking Neil deGrasse Tyson, my favorite astro-physicist. I'm going to make my required pilgrimages to the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park, my two favorite places in the city. I'm going to see fireworks in Central Park the night before the race, and I'm going to see PeeWee's Playhouse on Broadway. Plus I'm working on plans to meet up with a couple of cool bloggers while I'm there.

It's going to be an amazing trip, even if it does involve an insane amount of running. And no matter what happens during the race, the journey has been great so far.


shrink on the couch said...

Hoorah for you on all counts! But especially the part about being in such good shape. Have a great time in the Big Apple!

Runner Dude said...

It is great that you are back in the shape you want to be in. It is also great that you want to meet Neil deGrasse Tyson. I would love to spend just 1 hour with him. I have a thousand questions I would love to ask.
the dad

The Dister said...

You are very inspiring. I turn 45 next month and have been working towards a healthier body for the past 2 months. I have lost 22 lbs., have quite a ways to go but reading your post makes me feel as though I'd like to make myself a goal that is not just a number on the scale. Good luck in the race and have a fantastic time in NYC!

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Tina said...

So proud of you and all you have learned during this process! So fun! And I also have to say that I love that you have a favorite astro-physicist! Not many people can say that! Ha!