Today I remembered something I never think about. This feeling happens only for a few seconds, some very slow but fleeting seconds, just once or twice a year. And I never remembered it, until now. It was more like a tiny memory deja-vu.
Marathons… take a lot of planning. You sign up about a year before. You get a hotel, a flight, or not, you decide when you’ll start training, start building a base, a few months before you officially start training. You then start the road to get you to the start, you do your runs, you measure your weekly, and monthly mileages, you plan when you’ll do tempos, speed, long runs and how much of them. You build up, you taper, a week or two before, more macro planning, race fueling, gear, weather panic, pace, course strategy, etc.
The days before are… full of stuff to do, full of emotions, good luck wishes, to-do lists, phone calls, checking the weather obsessively, outfit options, etc… You wake up on race day, have your morning meal, hydrate, do your business, gear up, all of it, get to the start, see people, get nervous, get excited, leave the phone, walk into the corral, usually in throaway clothes, nervous chatter, we’re all pumped and ready, the cannon… And that’s when it usually happens. My stomach sinks.
I get a second of vacuum. It’s like you can’t breathe.
There is a deep realization that all the chatter stops here.This is the moment when I jump; there will be a long fall and I alone have brought myself there and there is no stopping it and no backing down.I am in front of a a bottomless blind hollowness and I have to jump. IN. No way back now. I breathe in, I see the long space ahead, and I know I have to jump. I know it’s gonna hurt, and I know there will be no net to spare me the pain. And I picked this. There is no one there to help you. There is no sound, no words of “it’ll be fine”, nothing can save you. Air tight vacuum. I breathe in. A bit of panic. A bit of Air. A bit of courage. A bit of wondering if I can really do this one more time. I breathe in. Very little air. The long long road ahead until we can breathe.
And I jump.
A few seconds later, the sounds come back, the running gets my blood moving, the air rushes in and fills me up with the joy of running and and how lucky I feel to be embarking into another 26.2 long adventure, and I feel fine for a while.