Beginning around 7:00 tomorrow morning, Lord willing, I will be running in the Montgomery Half Marathon. This will be the second time I’ve competed in this particular race and my third half overall. As somewhat of a racing “veteran,” having completed several 5Ks, 10Ks and even a 15K in addition to the halfs, you’d think that this would be old hat by now, but I still get butterflies in my stomach in the moments leading up to the start gun. I still question my sanity at around, oh, mile 2 (or in this case, mile 1, as the first mile of tomorrow’s race is straight UPHILL).
For the past week and a half I’ve been checking the weather forecast for race day and praying that it would be dry and not very humid. The forecast seems to change every time I check it, with rain chances wildly fluctuating between 20% and 70%. I’m trying not to worry about that; after all, I certainly can’t change the weather (although I am fervently praying, praying, praying about it).
Rain or shine, the race will go on, and so will I, although I may slow down if there is indeed a downpour. I’ll alternate between walking and running, as I have for my other half-marathons, and while I have a goal finish time in mind, I will really be happy just to finish, particularly if I finish injury- and blister-free. While there have been many, many moments in races when I’ve wondered WHY on earth I’m paying good money to torture my legs and lungs and test my stamina like this, there’s nothing like crossing the finish line to give you an incredible sense of accomplishment.
I wouldn’t be out there tomorrow if I hadn’t been spending the last two months training. Saturday after Saturday, from early January to now, I’ve met with a few friends to run and walk the course. Our training program called for gradually increase from 3 miles, to 5, to 7, and so on up to 12 and then decreasing back down before the big day. Getting up early on the one day that I can typically sleep in week after week has been difficult, but it has been so worth it. This training has prepared me to endure 13.1 miles tomorrow; it won’t be easy, but I WILL do it.
The preparation continues tonight: I’ll be meeting my training buddies for dinner at one of my favorite Italian restaurants to load up on pasta and carbs. I’ve got my playlist set and some of my racing clothes and gear already laid out. I’m trying to up my water intake throughout the day so I can be well-hydrated for tomorrow. And I see an early bedtime in my future.
As I’ve done for my other two half-marathons, I’ll be printing this verse on the back of my racing bib, as it’s the one that most often comes to mind when I’m gearing up for a race:
Hebrews 12:1: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us
Prayers for my perseverance and strength for tomorrow are much appreciated (as are prayers for a rain-free, pain-free race)!