26.2 miles is a long distance. It’s exactly 6.2 miles longer than I have ever run, and a 6 mile run is pretty darn long to begin with. So, to avoid completely losing my mind in nerves, this is what I’ve been telling myself:
- This is just a beautiful four-and-a-half-hour jog through Greece. I should stop at all the water stations and stop to take pictures, too. (I’ll be keeping my camera in the convenient pocket of my running tights the whole time, I decided.)
- Smile at the cheering spectators– they’re cheering for me!
- Ignore my adrenaline at the start and take it slow– conserve energy.
- I don’t have a time goal, I’m doing this for fun, and to get a feel for the marathon distance. If I like it, I’ll make it a habit. If a few days afterwards, when I can walk again, I’m still down on the full marathon, I’ll go back to halves for a while.
- Look into the crowd for clever signs, and photograph them. Then translate them into Italian to hold at the Firenze Marathon, coming up in just a few weeks! (I’m signed up to volunteer at it.)
- Take advantage of the expo– talk to the Runner’s World people, admire the Garmins, try some free samples, get new shoes, and maybe some gear.
- Take my vitamins.
- Drink lots (and lots) of water.
- Keep a sense of humor. I’m sure there will be mishaps, and parts of the race will feel uncomfortable. I’ll remember that it’s all about the experience, and that discomfort isn’t a bad thing, just a different kind of experience.