Lots of feelings creep in during the lead up to the marathon. Let me share this story with you.
My friend Christa was going to run her first marathon a few years ago. I had referred her to the same hotel we were staying in, and when we went to her room, her fiancé answered the door. She was sitting on the bed with a pillow in her lap. Her head was buried in the pillow. She was crying.
There was too much stress and too many things to remember. All the advice, the coaching, the books, the words of the “experts” were swirling around in her head. Combined with the next day’s venture into the unknown she was completely overwhelmed.
A few years earlier, I had jumped off a bridge in New Zealand. Don’t worry. I was connected to a big rubber band. As I stepped off the platform into thin air, I discovered something in the next half-second. There was nothing I could do. Either I was going to die or I wasn’t. After that, my mind totally changed modes and I was focused on the experience, the fun, the adrenaline, the sensations. IT WAS GREAT!
I gave Christa a hug and shared the lesson that I learned in that very short second in New Zealand. “Either you’re ready or you’re not. It’s too late to worry about that now.” All that advice she had echoing in her head was just extra noise. We went out to eat, relaxed, and enjoyed the moment. We met again at the starting line. She was still a little nervous, but enjoying the experience. On the out-and-back course, I saw her, still on her way out, two or three miles behind me as I was heading back. She was smiling. Enjoying. I crossed the road and gave her a big smooch. She was having a great time. I was having a great time.
Later, as she crossed the finish line, I grabbed a finisher medal from a race volunteer and put it around her neck. The tears of the day before were replaced with joy. Her first marathon.
So, I said all that to make this point:
When that moment of truth comes, there’s nothing more to be done other than to enjoy the moment. You can’t prepare any more. You’re as ready as you’re going to be. Have fun. Feel the energy of those around you and encourage them. Absorb all the joy from it you can.