Am I ready? I have no idea, but the time is here. I have my race packet with bib number 494. My race chip is activated. There is nothing left to do at this point but wait and run, then run some more, and then run some more.
The question has come up many times as to what my time goal is. Well, I am going to put it out there so it is easier for people to laugh at when I come no where close to it. Realistically my first and most important goal is to cross the finish line and not need any medical attention on the way or after getting there. After all, I did start running FOR my health. I have run two half marathons, the Hendrick Marrow Half and the Dowd Y Half. Both of those were finished right around 1:52. Other runs say that gives me 16 minutes to spare to run a 4 hour marathon. That would be awesome and will be in the back of my mind tomorrow for probably the first 18 or 20 miles. After that survival will kick in and the reality of running a 4:30 or even 5:00 hour first marathon will be just fine with me.
The best part about this being my first marathon is when I cross that finish line, I will have set a PR (personal record for you non-runners). However I did get some added motivation this week to keep my pace up. Our Associate Pastor Reta Steck passed away this week after a 20 month battle with brain cancer. She was an amazing woman and blessed all who knew her. She is the reason that my family is at Central United Methodist Church today. She was the very first person I met when I visited there and thought it was so cool that she remembered my name when I went back to visit again weeks later. I learned a ton from her in Disciple I and will be proudly wearing my "Run for Reta" shirt tomorrow.
Besides her being dear to mine and my families heart, I tell you that because her funeral is at 2 PM tomorrow. Starting a race in Charlotte at 7:45 means I can't take a minute longer than 5 hours for my Sarah and I to make it back to Concord with time for me to shower and get to the service. If I can accomplish a 4 hour run, we will have time to spare. Either way, only God knows my heart, but Reta knows how bad I want to be there and would understand if I don't make it.
Now a quick brag on my awesome support system!! In order for me to pull this off, my mom is driving to Concord tonight to stay with the girls tomorrow. Sarah is going to drive me down there and stick around to see me off. She is going to be back in time to see me finish and have a bag of clothes ready for me so I don't have to mess with the race bag check. She worries about me driving after running that distance which is understandable. I drove a short distance after a 20 mile run and it was a challenge. I love my wife more than I can describe in a blog. She has been patient, understanding, and supportive of my new found passion of running. I am excited to have her there at the start and the finish line of this race.
Enough babbling. I am a little anxious and relaxed. There is nothing I can do not but wait and run, then run some more, and run some more... and pray. Can't wait to spend 4 to 5 hours with God tomorrow!