The Forever First Date Harish Pai

The Forever First Date by Harish Pai

An innocuous little booklet was delivered in the mail this week. The 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon participant guide. And along with it, was my bib# and packet pickup ticket. The butterflies started to flutter, the mind began to pace and my heartbeat was instantly palpable. Race day is just a few days away and the anticipation has suddenly built up. This is getting very real VERY FAST!

Yeah I’ve done this before. 3 Times. And this time thankfully my preparation has gone off without a hitch. I have rarely missed any training runs (5 every week) and my total mileage at 16 weeks is already higher than what I had done in 18 weeks with the previous 3 marathons. Plus, I have been doing more outdoor running with a lot of great company which means pep talks, shared advice and confidence building.  I should actually be thinking ‘Been there. Done that’ and this should feel like business as usual.

Except…. that it DOESN’T! Not anymore. With the actual race around the corner, the emotional roller-coaster has started. Periods of blind confidence mixed in with bouts of self-doubt, visions of the experience of the thrill of the finish followed by numerous panicked thoughts of all that can go wrong have started to consume my very being.

Its taper time and with the lower mileage, the shorter runs are just whizzing by… but the days themselves are not going by fast enough. The extreme physical nature of the marathon is getting insignificant. It’s all mental now. The next few days are going to be a daze and I am going to be walking on eggshells all the way. Race day can’t get here quickly enough and the excitement just cannot be contained. I don’t know how those marathon maniacs go through this repeatedly, event after event.

In the end I am glad I feel this way. It must be something really special if it feels like the first time EVERY TIME.  Foreigner might have as well been talking about that Marathon feeling.

So here’s to another first date with 26.2 on 10/12/14.