For me this is a good sign.
Last year in the premarathon days I was a steaming hot mess. Mentally I beat myself up to the point where I was already defeated by the marathon before I even toed the line. Physically I was dwindling away to a scrawny version of my usual self as I let my goals cause unnecessary stress and anxiety, and emotionally it was taking every ounce of energy that I possessed in my bony body to not bust out in a crazy manic tear fest. Needless to say by the time marathon morning rolled around I was having an emotional breakdown at the starting line wondering why the hell I ever thought that I would run a marathon in 3:15 and told myself I didn't belong there.
|The fugly face of self-defeat around mile 16.|
I basically ran the worst race of my life because I gave up on myself and lost belief in the actualization of my dreams long before race morning even happened. But as terrible as those 26.2 miles were, I feel very blessed to have had such a humbling experience. That race made me basically hit rock bottom with running where I then had to make a decision, was I running because I enjoy it or was I running because I felt like I had to. After a rather rocky patch I finally realized that I have been running all these years because it is something that enables me to experience life in ways that I never thought possible. It empowers and inspires me to press past the challenging moments and has a subtle way of putting everything into perspective. I run because it makes me feel.
As crazy as it may sound, I have more gratitude for this race over any other that I have ever ran. It taught me to find power within myself to be unyielding to challenges no matter how tricky a situation may be and to always pay homage to my gracious God for my gifts.
Now at this very moment, I feel prepared. Trusting that while my training wasn't perfect and there were plenty of bumps in the road, my level of fitness is at an all time high. Knowing that there will come moments during the race where I feel weak and slightly defeated but will continue to press on with all of the strength and courage that I have acquired this year. Believing that I am an athlete that has the power to conquer any challenge will be the fuel that keeps me moving.
When I compare this frail and scrawny girl
|Finish line of Chicago Marathon 2010|
|Chicago marathon expo 2010. It's almost painful to look at how bitty I am here.|
To this strong and confident woman
|Yes, this is a slightly awkward photo|
I can see the changes that I have encountered in a 1 year time span. Physically I have put on a few pounds and have gained quite a bit of muscle. Mentally I have become a fierce predator that is just waiting to pounce on it's prey. And emotionally I feel strong enough to fight the marathon demons that may come my way.
I am more then ready to hit this course. BRING. IT. ON. CHITOWN.