Tomorrow morning my alarm will go off at 4:30am (thank goodness for the clocks changing tonight!) and I will be picked up by a car service at 5am.  The car will drop me off at 51st Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan where I will board a Team for Kids bus for Staten Island.  I will then spend almost 4 hours hanging out in the starting villages waiting for my official start time of 10:55am. Over the last few weeks I have heard many comments and questions about me running this race.  Are you ready? Are you nervous/excited? Are you crazy? Don’t get hurt! Be safe! Enjoy every moment!

With my race start in about 16 hours, the NYC Marathon is very much on my mind.  How am I feeling?

Of course I’m a little nervous and a lot excited.  I have heard from many, many sources that the NYC Marathon is a very special race.  A pediatric urologist that I know has run 28 marathons in 26 states and ranks NYC as tied for #1 as his favorite marathon.  As a New Yorker (not quite life-long although I was born in Manhattan) I think that being able to run through all 5 boroughs is amazing.  And I’ve heard the crowd support is incredible.  Long before I was a runner, I was a New Yorker and Marathon Day was always special.  Countless non-runner New Yorkers declare on Marathon Day that this is a bucket-list event. I’m tempted to run with my camera as I would at Disney but I think I’ll stick with my cell phone camera and hope for the best.  I want to soak in the energy of NYC for all 26.2 miles.

I’m less nervous because I’ve decided that I don’t ultimately care about my finish time.  In a fantasy world I would finish sub-5 hours but Jeff Galloway thinks that’s highly unlikely, especially at New York.  I will try for a 5:15 but I promise that I won’t be disappointed with a 5:30.  If I’m closer to 6 hours than to 5:30, I might feel a little sad.  Barring injury or other disaster (GI distress?), I think it’s unlikely that I won’t be at least 5:30.  I did a sub-6 hour 26.2 training run (27.3 miles in 6:10 to be exact) so I think it’s safe to say 5:30 is my B goal.  Just finishing is my C goal.  In the final picture it doesn’t matter if I finish 5:10 or 5:40.  They would both be PR’s and are both safely within the time limit of the race.

One thing that worries me is injury.  My left foot isn’t 100% and that worries me.  It tends to feel better in my Hokas and so I’m hoping that it’ll all be ok.  I’m worried about shin splints but I’ve been ok with that recently and I’ll have my compression calf sleeves on for the race.  I also brought compression socks for after the finish.  I can’t really control that anyway so I’ve decided to just cope with whatever comes my way. My only other concern is the balance between going out to fast and going out too slowly.  I tend to hold back in the beginning of races and I sometimes wonder if I’m too conservative.  Then again, I just said that I don’t really care about my finish time so maybe conservative is good!

What I’m really feeling tonight is an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  I’m grateful to have the ability to run the race.  I was able to pay all of the exorbitant fees associated with the race and running for charity.  I have a mostly healthy body that is able to go the distance.  I have an incredibly supportive family – most especially my husband who has tolerated months of me getting up at the butt-crack of dawn to run lots of miles.  And then dealt with my tired, crabby self all day after a long run.  My children who, perhaps more than anybody, see me as a distance runner.  Somebody asked me if my children were proud of me running the NYC Marathon.  Not really.  They don’t see it as anything special or different from the other races I run. I know that NYC is special but for them it’s just what I do.  Hard to believe that 4 years ago I couldn’t run a mile…

I’m grateful for the many friends and family members who donated money to Team for Kids.  I loved being able to raise money for this special charity and I am so appreciative of the generosity of others.  Many of my closest friends contributed but so did many people who barely know me in person and mostly know me because of the running community or the Disney community or other online communities that I have been blessed to participate in.  It’s amazing to me that someone who has never met me in person or only met me once or twice would be willing to support my running efforts.  “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out a watch a marathon.” Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, said it so well.  And raising money for charity while training for a marathon has made me see the good in humanity, too.  Thank you all.

I’m thankful for the incredible support I’m getting, both in “real” life and online.  I’ve received beautiful text messages, and PMs, and posts from so many people that I cannot even keep track.  A twitter friend who has only met me a few times thought to post an article from Runner’s World about how to approach the NYC Marathon.  And she’s sidelined from her own training with an injury right now.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and energy and support that I know I will carry with me tomorrow.  My running supporters are amazing and it honestly brings me to tears to think about how lucky I am to have this bubble of love surrounding me.

Tomorrow I will run with my Angel Mom on my back (literally and figuratively!) and my friends and family in my heart.  I will be buoyed by the cheers of the crowds as I run through my home city (yes, I know I live in the suburbs but NYC is still my home).  I will carry the anger and sorrow from the Boston Marathon with me and use it in a positive way to carry me through the miles. I will be humbled by the spirit of the marathon and humbled that I am allowed to be a part of it.