It's the day before The SF Half, my 6th half marathon in two years. I reflect on both how far I've come and how much has yet to change.
One thing that strikes me as a huge change is my confidence. I am confident that I can do it. I will finish. I will be tired and it will hurt. But I know now that I can do it. I remember the buzz of nerves the day before my first race, not knowing. Now I accept that I am slow and will come in just under the wire (even a little too close for comfort). And I know it will be hard. I've become quite familiar with all the voices in my head, and when they seem to make their hardest arguments... and that if I keep putting one foot in front of the other, they will eventually fade.
One thing that has not seemed to change much is my fitness level. In fact, I think I was in better shape for my first race than I am today. The not knowing certainly motivated me! I am getting older, the metabolism is slowing. In recent weeks I have made an effort to make smarter nutrition choices, but it was an effort a little to late (for this race, not for life).
I am ready to enjoy the day. The buzz. The views. Even the pain. I will participate in this race with my cousin and two friends. Two of which will finish hours ahead of me (thanks to an earlier wave start and their speedy pace) and another friend that has struggled with the challenges of balancing her love of running and being a new mom. I commend her on her willingness to stand at that start and give it her best effort. We will celebrate afterwards and compare stories. It's bonding. It's one of the reasons I love participating in the races. And even though I get down on myself for being so slow and out of shape (compared with other runners) I have to recognize that crossing that finish line after 13.1 miles is an accomplishment. And I am proud of that.
Now... off to the expo to pick up my bib... and get that buzz started!