48 hours until the Toronto marathon. I’m excited but…is that a hamstring pull I feel? And where’d that hangnail on my left toe come from?
Ah yes, the pre-race jitters. Nothing new there. But the stakes are different this time. I want to run 26.2 miles in less than 3 hours. If the stars align, and God looks down and blows a kiss at my legs, then I’ll succeed. If there’s a bad headwind, or if the temperature dips below 5 degrees, or if I eat too much spaghetti on Saturday night and wind up visiting the porta-potty during the race, I’ll fail.
I put my chances at 50-50. Still – I REALLY WANT IT! In the past, whenever someone has asked me my marathon finishing time, I’ve had to give them a number that started with a 3. I finished my first marathon in 3:36. A year later I qualified for Boston with a 3:18. A couple of years after that I nailed a 3:04.
Just imagine, I tell myself, owning a finishing time that starts with a 2. I dream of a 2. My kingdom for a 2!
“Would you say you’re a goal oriented person?” a journalist asked me the other day.
I had to think about this. What is a goal, anyway?
A dream is a goal with a deadline. I didn’t write that. I saw it on the wall at my gym.
I think it’s true though. Dreams are basically useless until you put a clock on them; until you wrestle them to the ground and turn them into reality. If you fail in the attempt, then at least you’ve got a story. But if you succeed, Whoo hoo! Crack open the golden fudge creme Oreos!
So yeah, I suppose I’m a goal oriented person. But I’m not religious about it. I’m cool with failure.
Proof: I tried to break the three-hour barrier once before, and failed. And when I crossed the finish line, I did what I always do at the end of a race: I LAUGHED MY FACE OFF!
Seriously. I always start giggling when I cross a finish line. I’m so happy to not to be running anymore! I often do a pirouette as I sail through the finisher’s chute.
So regardless of my finishing time, I can tell you exactly what I’ll be doing this Sunday morning at 11:45 am. I’ll be cruising up Bay Street in downtown Toronto, with a big goofy grin on my face. I’ll be surrounded by thousands of cheering Torontonians – people kind enough to support loved ones (and some strangers) who are chasing a dream.
And afterward, I’ll go home and rake the leaves in the yard and clean the bathroom upstairs and then I’ll maybe make a borscht. I’ll put my finisher’s medal in the shoebox with all the others. And I’ll laugh about the importance and the folly of the number 2.