Last night I tried a new strategy to get enough sleep before my race. I went to bed at 8 PM, planning to sleep until 10 or so when Boyfriend would come over to hang out. I figured we’d get to bed around 1, which would means I’d still get my 8 hours of sleep. Instead, he got stuck at work and didn’t get to my place until after midnight. We still went to bed around 1, so I ended up getting 11 hours of sleep! I hoped that would make me feel a bit better.
However, I still woke up feeling tired and icky today – I wanted to sleep the rest of the day. I was dreading going to Atlanta, and most of all, I was dreading running the marathon. A marathon is freaking long! And to add more stress, the time limit tomorrow is 5 hours, so there is very little room for error if I’m tired. It’s pretty nervewracking to think I might go all the way down there and not be able to check Georgia off my list.
On my way to the airport, I tripped a little bit on the escalator, and my first fleeting thought was, “maybe if I get hurt I won’t be able to do the race.” What’s happening there? There have been times when I haven’t wanted to go out for a training run, but I can’t ever remember not wanting to do a race this badly, and not being excited by the thought of running in a new place.
But despite all my misgivings, to the airport and on the plane I went. In the time between pushback and cruising altitude when you can’t use your laptop, I continued my read of Bart Yasso’s biography, My Life on the Run. While doing this, I hit on an amazing passage that Bart wrote after completing a bike trip across America.
“Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about some aspect of that trip. My relationship with maps has changed, too. I no longer see dots and squiggles when I look at the path I traveled. I see cowboys and mountains, cornfields and corner stores, Pizza Huts, swirling rivers, and strangers who became friends. And I see myself, connected by the thread of memory to it all.”
I have to admit, I got a little teary reading that. That’s what I love about running marathons. I love that I’m getting to go to all fifty states, and while I’m not getting to see every town and every nook and cranny, I’m getting to see a lot of really cool places. Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m just flying in for a race and flying out, and not getting to do the tourist thing and seeing all the sights, but then I realize something: I’m running 26.2 miles through the town. What better way is there to see the world than that?
I’m having two Thanksgivings this year. One is tomorrow, after the marathon, in Atlanta. The second is Saturday, with my mom and Boyfriend in New York City. On Saturday I will be thankful for my friends and family. But tomorrow, I will be thankful for running.