As long as my toe is on that starting line on race day, I will have won no matter what happens over the course of the race.
A week from today, I'll run the Air Force Marathon. I've been cleared to race by my doctors (cardiologist, sports medicine orthopedic surgeon, pain management / anesthesiology specialist), my awesome Sports Physical Therapist, my incredible massage therapist, and the most wonderful and supportive boyfriend in the world. It does take a village to keep a runner running.
Preparing for this race has been the hardest thing I've ever done. If I had known the emotional and physical costs, I doubt I would have taken on the challenge. But if I had known how difficult it was to write a book, I never would have taken on that challenge either.
I turned 62 in April when I started training for this race. I've learned so much about myself and my ability to persevere. I've run 16, 18, and 20 miles in 95+ degree temperatures with my knees screaming at me to stop, and my arm rolled up in my shirt in an effort to control the pain in my neck and shoulder and arm, but most of all I've experienced the sheer joy of running with a smile and my hands lifted in praise. I am blessed in more ways than I can count.
Fifteen years ago, I said I wanted to write a book, a time travel story. I did. A year ago, I said I wanted to run a mile. That one mile turned into a passion to run 26.2. I don't know if I'll make it to the finish line, but I know I'm going to try. I'm not in the physical condition I wanted to be in on race day (a pinched nerve in my neck that I've had since early July is still a problem), and I'll probably end up doing more walking than running, but I will give it my best shot. And if at mile-18, I say "enough," I will at least have tried.
Kit MacKlenna, the heroine in THE RUBY BROOCH, delivers a line that has been running through my mind the last several days. She tells Cullen, the hero, that she couldn't live with the regret if she didn't . . . (I won't finish the sentence since it's a spoiler). That line has reminded me that I couldn't live with the regret if I didn't try. As my Sweetie told me last night, as long as my toe is on that starting line on race day, I will have won no matter what happens over the course of the race.
Friends and family and even folks I don't know have cheered me on, sent encouraging notes, and prayed for me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You have kept me going!
I will spend the next six days mentally preparing, carb loading, hydrating, studying the course, and visualizing my run, and finding a really cool outfit to wear.