Tomorrow is the day. I've been counting up to it over the last 2 weeks with memories, thoughts, and growth over the last 9 years and 13 previous marathons. As I've run, I've grown, I've matured, I've gotten faster (in general) and I've become a whole lot smarter. By no means have I got this whole thing figured out and I don't intend to ever completely conquer this marathon distance. That is what makes it a challenge to go after...there is always an unknown. Will my body be ready on race day, will the weather cooperate, will the course allow me to run a fast time? So many unknowns and the only way to answer those questions is to toe the starting line and when the gun goes off, get out there and give it everything I've got and see what happens.
For tomorrow's Twin Cities Marathon, I have set forth a few goals for myself. First and foremost, I want to run in a way that glorifies God. He blessed me with the passion and the desire to do this crazy thing in the first place, so I want to honor Him as best I can. Second, I want to run a smart race. By that, I mean not going out too fast on the first half of the race. Twin Cities has a pretty fast first 13.1 miles (really the first 17-18 miles are pretty easy) and I have a history of going out too fast and dying on Summit Avenue over the last 5 miles. My goal is to be no faster than 1:29 at the halfway point and to begin picking up the pace on West and East River Roads. I want to set myself up for a fast finish on Summit Avenue where I am the one passing runners that are hurting as opposed to me being the one getting passed.
Finally, tomorrow I will run GRACIE STRONG. This is my first marathon since my niece, Gracie, passed away last October. It's been nearly a year since we lost her and she is all certainly a part of each of us who were impacted by her short 82 days on Earth. I think about her everyday and I keep her on my mind with each run that I go on. Tomorrow will be no different. My shoes continue to say GRACIE STRONG and they always will. This race tomorrow will be in her honor.
With that, I end my journey (of writing at least) to marathon #14. I will post sometime next week my thoughts and results of how the race went. If you are out there on the course tomorrow, send a cheer my way. I'll be wearing BIB#1913 and will be decked out in Wayzata attire (bright blue, gold and white).
The scripture I've been clinging to for many months now, and what will be on my heart during this race is this (it was also Gracie's life verse):
"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."