Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Night Before

Well, hello there! Tomorrow morning I’m running the Carlsbad Half Marathon. And I couldn’t be more excited.

But the plethora of pre-race emotions that I’ve experienced this week has been enough to make even the most experienced of racers slightly neurotic. After all, it’s not like this is my first race ever. Far from it; I started running competitively for my high school team in eighth grade.

No – the math isn’t wrong. I just jumped the gun early. I was that excited to run. Heck, even before that I would eagerly anticipate my grade school’s track and field day. Well, that and the Presidential Fitness Test. Hooray! The mile was my favorite event. So much so that one year I ran an extra lap around the field. Who needs to count laps when you’re running fast!

The pinnacle of my (pre cross country) elementary school running career came in 4th grade, where I raced mano e mano against my ex boy friend (Ben S.) from third grade. I know, I know. Full of drama. Even the sixth graders came out to watch our one mile race. It was actually pretty exciting: we exchanged leads until the final backstretch when – spurred on by the scandal of our break up – I passed him in the final 50 meters. 7:20 to 7:22. Yeah, I still remember the time.

Suffice to say, I’ve got plenty of experience racing.

The pre-race emotions have been different.

For the first time since April 2007, I’m excited to race. I’m really looking forward to going out, having a great run, and simply seeing what I can do. It’s not about hitting x:xx time or y:y pace, or even beating z amount of competitors. It’s a celebration of my journey, my life, and my happiness.

I’m simply looking forward to putting myself out there, and pushing myself in ways that I do only through the excruciating effort of race day.

A good friend once asked me why I race?

I paused for a moment, and then tried to explain. I learn the most about myself when I race, discover new things when I push beyond what I thought possible. Racing is comparable to life: it’s a journey through many twists and turns. We don’t always like the road we’re on – but what we choose to do (or not do) has a direct impact on the overall result. Racing breaks you down and strips you bare: it forces you to deal with the demons within. You are naked, exposed, and vulnerable. And it’s not always pretty.

But – I continued – the greatest rewards occur when we do something we thought impossible. When we go after a goal, aspire high, and make our dreams a reality. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there, but the feelings, the emotions, the growth, the rewards are well worth the effort.

What will I find tomorrow?

I’m not sure.

But I’m ready and excited to find out.

Earlier this week, I perused through old blog entries and past Training Peaks logs. I came across this post from the evening before I ran the Pensacola Half Marathon (February 2008). Okay – so I was super excited before that race. I stand corrected. Switch out the words “Pensacola” with “Carlsbad”, and you’ve got the general idea.

(published February 17, 2008)

‘Twas the night before the Pensacola Half Marathon,
And all through our place,
Marit was excited,
Thinking about Race Pace.

Her shoes were all packed
By the door ready to go,
In hopes that tomorrow,
Her running speed would show

Tabbitha was curled up, on the couch she lay,
With visions of a Fast Mom, never running astray.
And Nate in the recliner, and I seated on the floor
Were listening to the radio, NPR’s Saturday night in store.

When suddenly out in the forest,
There was a great SHOUT
I jumped to my feet
To see what it was all about.

And to the French doors,
I flew as fast as I might,
Threw open the blinds,
And stared in delight

The bright stars they all twinkled,
Cast a late night glow
On the forest and palms,
And green grass below

When what before
My pre-race eyes would appear?
It was Elizabeth’s wizard,
Giving me the “all-clear”!

With robes of deep purple
And a cap full of stars
His eyes twinkled merrily,
Even from afar.

He opened his mouth
And his words rang loud:
“Go forth Speedy Marit
And make me proud!

“Tomorrow is your race,
The first of 2008,
I simply can’t wait,
We have a date.”

And then he smiled,
Crooked teeth and all
I felt my knees go week,
Fearful of hitting the wall

He gazed down at me,
Smile beaming bright,
Confident that I,
Would give up the fight.

“Dumbledore,” said I,
“I know you’ll be there,
Jumping on my back,
But alas I won’t care.

“I’ll put down my head
And I’ll grit my teeth,
As fast as I can,
I’ll unleash my beast.

“And run I will
Over bridges and hills
You won’t get me
I have an iron will.

“I’m been training so hard
Every day, every week
Waiting for you,
It is you whom I seek.

“So jump on my back
I’ll give you a ride
Heavy as you are
You can’t break my stride.

“I know the race is hard:
I have prepared,
I’m looking forward to this,
And I’m not scared.

“Let’s give it a go,
Try running with me,
Why don’t you tag along,
We’ll have fun – you’ll see.”

He gave me a look
A skeptical stare,
“You’re not worried at all-
You don’t even care?

“But I’ve traveled so far,
In Florida here I am!
You’re not afraid of me
I say you can’t, you know you can.”

“Don’t feel bad,”
I smiled and replied.
“You’ll still find me
I won’t hide.

“Together we’ll go
Running as fast as we might,
Dumbledore and Marit
That’ll give ‘em a fright!”

We shook hands
And he prepared to depart
Tomorrow morning we’ll meet,
About 8 miles after the start.

Into the evening he flew
The hour was late,
I closed the French Doors,
And couldn’t wait for our date.

For tomorrow I’ll run
Doing all that I can do…
How? You so pleasantly ask….
Because I epitomize HTFU!

10 comments:

Elizabeth A. Rich said...

GOOD LUCK!!!!

Colleen S said...

Marit- Have a great race.... its just the beginning of what I'm sure will be an amazing year for you!

Maijaleena said...

Good Luck--Go go go!!!!

Jen said...

Good luck! Have fun!

Missy said...

Luck, luck, luck and have a blast too. Keep us posted! Weather looks like it might just be perfect.

Jennifer Harrison said...

Great job today, Marit ! WOOOOOO

Chad Holderbaum said...

Best of Luck Marit! Can't wait to hear how it goes. Kick some ass-phalt!

ADC said...

I am sure you are done by now and I am sure it went well. Can't wait to read all about it.

rr said...

update us woman! I'm dying to know how it went.

BreeWee said...

I am with Rach, I am back again LOOKING for the results, hope YOU LOVED it and are stoked!