Everyone remembers their first time. After months or even years of anticipation, when the moment has finally arrived, you can't believe it's actually going to happen. You have butterflies in your stomach and are so excited you don't know if you are going to throw up or laugh uncontrollably. Maybe you should just run away to save embarrassment for poor performance. But you don't. Somehow you manage to keep it together just long enough to begin.
As I think back to my first time, I can feel those butterflies. This week however, I am on the sidelines. Tani is running her first marathon, Marine Corps in DC and I will be in my rightful place, as supporter and crew. I wish I could simply turn off the pre-race jitters switch, and turn up her confidence. But I know that is not possible and I will therefore listen, yes listen and do my best not to comment. There is nothing I can really do beyond that as she needs to go through this torturous time and learn for herself.
While Tani (and all other first timers who have put in the effort) should feel good about what lies ahead, knowing that all the sacrifices are about to pay off.....That is not how it works. Nerves take over as we panic and every little thing is a major issue. Here are some examples of thoughts that may be running through her mind right now:
- "My foot hurts, it's probably a stress fracture. No way I can do this with my foot this way"
- "I feel like I am getting sick, must be the flu. No way I can do this feeling this way"
- "I missed my long run a few weeks ago. I did not train enough. No way I can do this on such little training"
- "What was I thinking??? There is no way I can do this."
As the fall marathon season is in full swing, the air is filled with anxious thoughts from 1st time marathoners, and many experienced runners too. It may fall on deaf ears right now but to all and especially my wife I say this - "You may not feel this way until you cross that finish line but you are ready. Enjoy this moment, savor every second, because like most first experiences, this one too will be over much faster than expected."