October 5, 2013 by Amy B
First: you should know I occasionally obsess over things. I find that my level of obsession over preparing for races is pretty proportional to my level of preparedness. Years when I haven’t trained much? Not a lot of thought has gone into getting ready the night before. So you can tell by the photo below that I might feel a little more secure about my training base this year.
Like most people I know, I love the race expo. My first was Chicago 2004 and I’d never been to anything like it. As someone who didn’t totally view herself as a runner, even though I was about to run a long-ass race, I was intimidated yet inspired. Since then, the expo has always been a highlight, and if it were up to me, I’d spend most of a day there.
Jessica, Scott’s eldest who lives in the cities with her husband, volunteered to come over and hang with the kids while we picked up our stuff. Let’s just say there was no question we were turning down an opportunity to spend a few hours childless and stroller-free!
After grabbing the important stuff (race bags and Old Dutch potato chips) we walked through most of the aisles. O’Neal Hampton from The Biggest Loser was there promoting his foundation. We chatted for a few minutes (he looked a little lonely) and I snagged a photo.
We found the nuun booth!
I scored a Mill City Running Hoodie (red!) and a commemorative pint glass. Scott was an excellent shopping Sherpa.
We picked up our complimentary Caribou coffees and headed over to Target to shop for dinner. Traditionally we have chosen cooking dinner over going out, because it was a chance to have family over to the house, visit and carbo-load at the same time. In the past few years we’ve opted to eat out with varying success. The idea of taking Aaron out wasn’t sounding so great, so we grabbed spaghetti fixings and headed back to the house. We ate early in the evening. It was delicious.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I hauled quite a load of shit with me this weekend. Weather was changing and I wasn’t sure what to wear. Thanks to the slight ballooning out I’ve done at the end of this training, I wasn’t feeling comfortable in a lot of my duds. Rain is a possibility but I shudder at the idea of wearing a jacket, even my awesome Flyer jacket, for over four hours.
I decided to pull out an oldie but favorite finisher shirt in all it’s oversized glory.
When we ran this TCM in 2010, Scott’s mom Pat had been undergoing chemo after cancer surgery (stomach). She’d started the process in May and was back in the hospital, which was only a few blocks away from the marathon finish.
We headed there post-race. I remember feeling pretty miserable, being one who doesn’t always feel awesome after running 26.2 miles.
After spending what now I really feel wasn’t enough time, as it was the last time Pat and I had a coherent conversation despite the massive amount of pain she was in, we went back to the house and to Sophie, who was waiting with Scott’s brother and sister in law.
Pat died that November. 2010 will always be The Marathon When Pat Died, no matter what.
I remember running that year, thinking of her lying in the hospital, broken. It served as fuel to get me across that finish line. This year, I’m not in the best shape of my life, though I feel confident about my ability to finish. I’m considerably overweight, especially considering where I was in January and where I wanted to be for this marathon. And maybe that is why I know I won’t be completely devastated if I’m unable to achieve the PR I want. It’s not that I’ve stopped gunning for it or going in with a positive attitude – I am. But this is completely uncharted territory for me. This is no longer “just finish.” This is throwing out a goal for all to see and either kicking ass or failing publicly. And shit, that’s kind of scary, man.
So I’m wearing the shirt and though I’m not terribly superstitious, I’m hoping it brings some good juju or at least helps me remember the reasons I run and the people who inspire me. I loved Pat and miss her everyday. I know she’d be head over heels in love with my kids. I know she’d be waiting at the finish line tomorrow with a smile and a hug. I know I need to find a way to stay focused tomorrow, especially in that pain place, and find strength to gut it out, especially in those last miles.
See you on the other side, guys.