In the last several weeks, I have spent a great deal of time seriously wondering whether I will be able to finish the marathon on the strength of the training I've done the past several months. We hear all sorts of inspiring stories, from Team Hoyt to my friend Marathon Peach, a sixteen-year liver transplant survivor, to people running to honour the memories of Marines close to them who've died in Iraq and elsewhere while defending their country. They tell us that the excitement of race day and 50,000 cheering fans and the course lined with Marines will carry us the last six miles, even though the training only allows for one run of 20 miles as the longest distance.
I've wondered about all that, because I know where my weaknesses are, and I know that it has been a long and, at times, difficult summer for me, and that my emotional state slowly but inexorably takes its toll on my physical body. I know all these things, and I wasn't entirely sure where in the middle of this equation the marathon would land me.
Then, this morning, it crystallised for me along the trail. The early morning sunlight; the amazingly cold, clear, crisp weather along the river that is so different from the sultry grey heat of this day two years ago; the strength in my body and in my heart as I blasted through my personal record for a five-mile pace by several seconds. I will succeed. I will complete this race.
And the number one reason is that I am not a quitter. Happy anniversary, my dearest love. I miss you.