It’s after 8pm. So being an obedient Manatee County resident, I’m off the streets. Waiting.
Marathon runners know what this feels like. You’ve prepped all you can for your race. You’ve laid everything out for the next morning. The alarm is set; you know because you’ve checked it a gazillion times. You’ve stretched, or not. You’ve attached your race bib, or not. You’ve prepared your liquids, or not. You most certainly have eaten your last meal and properly hydrated. And now you wait. The long night has started; and if it’s your first 26.1, it will most likely feel like the longest night of your life.
You make yourself go to bed; and after about an hour of asking yourself ridiculous questions about tomorrow, you somehow fall asleep…only to wake up thinking the alarm didn’t work because surely the night is over, but the clock says it’s been less than two hours. If you’re lucky, you’ll repeat this cycle a couple of times. And each time you ask yourself another question before falling asleep, “Why can’t I stay asleep?”
And from my experience, here’s the answer-anticipation of the unknown.
- Can I make it the full distance?
- What if it starts raining?
- They say you hit a wall at mile 18. What does that feel like?
- Did my training plan really prepare me?
- How will I feel when it’s over?
These questions can go on and on. And they probably will until the race startgun sounds. And then, for the most part, after about mile two, they stop. You’re not normal if they don’t return at some point during the race, but you find a way to cross the finish line.
So here’s to the night before. You’ve done all you can. Followed your game plan. Put your trust in the right hands. Prayed for endurance to last all the way to the finish line.
It will come. One way or another, it will come.
But right now, it’s the night before. And you wait.
Think about that finish line. It will come.