As a runner you never feel “ready” for a big race. You question your runs, especially the last few. You pick apart what you did wrong on those Saturday long runs. Your breathing suddenly seems ineffective. Suddenly that clear vision of the finish line you’ve had all this time vanishes. Out of no where aches and pains appear and those that already existed magnify (case in point: I’ve convinced myself that the tiny blister on my big toe is reason for amputation). I dare someone to tell me they’ve ever kicked back during their taper week and felt 100% confident in their ability. And after you’re done telling me- please teach me how to be just like you.
I don’t feel ready to run 13.1 miles. And I most certainly don’t feel ready to run them by myself. The furthest I’ve ever run alone is 11 miles. And in training for Timberman I only ran to 10. Those extra 3 miles are a long way to put my faith in. I know that I could get to the start line and completely freak myself out. I know that I could let myself go out far too fast and crash and burn. I know there will be a point where I hit my wall and want to give up. The memory of what a half marathon feels like on my body is still incredibly vivid. How it feels in my brain is even stronger.
But despite all of my worries and doubts, I feel ready in other ways. Ready in ways I’ve never felt before. Ready to figure out if I can ever handle the mental aspect that goes hand in hand with being a distance runner. Ready to see if I can fuel myself properly. Ready to see that those 10 miles were truly all I needed. Ready to see if I can pace myself to run smart and steady.
Ready because for once, the excitement of success slightly overshadows my fear of failure. Ready because I want to see if the voice inside my head can push me to keep going, instead of the one running alongside me. Ready because I know there will be a team waiting at the finish line who is depending on me. Ready because I want to call my fiancee and scream “I DID IT!” proudly. Ready to prove to those who have believed in me all along that I finally believe in myself. Ready because I want to see that I am stronger than I think I am.
And at the end of the day, maybe that’s the only kind of “ready” you ever really need to be.