Philadelphia Marathon morning – November 11, 2011

(finished 210/10314, 182/6042 men, 29/958 in my 31-35 age group [35 years old], 2:56:56 finish time)

It’s 4:30am on race day. I have been lying in bed since 4 o’clock, completely excited, attuned to my body. My heart is beating excitedly expectantly. I hear my wife stirring next to me. I think she’s attuned to me. When I’m tense or excited I think she has just as much trouble sleeping. I’m not sure my restlessness is a bad thing. I rarely feel this alive and excited. Running the marathon is my Mount Everest. My ultimate goal – the crème of the crème. My lower back is calling out to me in bed, saying stretch me out. I imagine rolling out on foam roller a few more times before the big race. I try to focus on my breath in bed to help my mind relax. Ultimately at 4:30am, I succumb to my sleeplessness. I want to be with myself: my nervousness, excitement, and zest for action. I think to myself, why am I so excited? Why am I this hyped up at 4 o’clock in the morning? I have the melody to the Naked and Famous, Young Blood flowing through my mind. My calves are slightly tight, my face is burning from seborrheic dermatitis. My cotton shirt is slightly sweaty from my poor night of excited sleep. I’m going to take a nice pre-race hot shower.

It’s only the second marathon of my life. I hit the wall the first time. Do I eat breakfast this time? I binged on brownies made with applesauce last night. My wife cooked them for me at a last minute request. I devoured my organic beet juice in hopes of improving my endurance. Beet juice looks just like blood. It’s funny how some vegetables are the color or shape of the body parts they help out most. Last night I slept so much better. I read that it’s better to have a good night sleep two night’s before the race. Right now my heart is still racing more quickly that usual. I am ready and alert, typing my thoughts out at fast speed with clarity.

Will I burn out? Will I run the three hours that I want? Will I achieve the pace I want, only to burn out in the later miles?!? I did a 20+ mile training run a couple weeks ago and ran it in about 2 hours and 30 minutes. I should be amazed that I can run for 150 continuous minutes at 7 minute mile pace. I’m always asking my body for more, yet I sit here at 4:42am typing, wondering if my dream will come true. Really, it’s about beating myself. I did not train as hard for the marathon this year. Instead, I did lots of cross training at my gym. In many ways, my body is stronger than ever. Just a couple hours and I will find out how my body will deliver the performance I so much desire from it. May God be with me – if this is heaven, which it probably is my personal heaven, may I be alert, present in the moment for the full 26.2 miles. I want to be awake – like I am right now – proud to be running the Philadelphia Marathon with 25,000 other runners, countless volunteers and spectators. I anticipate the positive energy, strangers calling out my name, cheering me on from my name on my bib tag. I look forward to thinking about all the caring people in my life when my brain starts sending me those messages “Why are you doing this? Why don’t you just stop?” I hear those messages in my mind, but I always push through them. Maybe I will be thinking about you who is reading this today during the race. I have thought of John, CJ, Megan, Levi, Gerald, Jim Weiss, Jim Saxon, Loretta, Lou Doran, Dr. Parvizi, my sister, Frankie Manning, Harry DiSilvestro, Jessie Merlin and probably 50 other people during my races this year when the tough gets going.

So here I am… ready… feeling calmer, clearer and more determined after righting, no writing out my thoughts. I’m ready to walk my path, er run the path along my personal heaven, the road race. It is my atmosphere of pure positivity, freedom, and personal triumph. Hopefully I have will have some triumphant news to share with you after the race. Heck, I am going out there and doing it. No matter what happens, I’m engaging in what I love, despite the odds I won’t be able to do this for too many more years. Today is my day!

Thanks for reading my thoughts