I have a marathon coming up! I can't believe it. I guess why I can't believe it is because I'm not as nervous as I was last year. I have a load of confidence heading into Surf City 2010 - not necessarily confidence in that I'm going to run a really fast race or anything but confidence in that I'm going to finish, I'm going to run strong and I'm going to live up to my marathoner status.
It's a stark contrast to last year when I was a ball of nerves the weeks leading up to Surf City.
How have things changed in one year? Here's where my 2010 and 2011 experiences have differed so far.
2010: I checked the weather multiple times a day... okay, it was like multiple times an hour. The last thing I wanted was rain.
2011: On Wednesday I checked the forecast once. It called for rain on Feb. 6. Thursday I checked once and rain was on the forecast for Feb. 7. While rain will be an inconvenience, I'm not worried about it.
2010: We rented a hotel for two nights a year ago. The room wasn't that great but it was within walking distance and we (Mrs. LB and I) felt it was important to have a place to stay nearby so I can get up and walk to the start line, walk back after the finish, sleep after the race and recover on a bed instead of a car.
2011: We may get a hotel but Mrs. LB is going to drop me off. We still haven't figured it out but I'm not worried about those parts of the logistics.
2010: In my final long run ahead of the marathon, I wore the outfit I wound up wearing at the marathon. I wanted to make sure that things worked out well and that I would be comfortable in what I'd decided to wear.
2011: I'm wearing my pink Loper shirt but beyond that, not sure. I have an idea of what shorts I want to wear but nothing's finalized.
2010: I decided that I wanted to run with my pace group and I ended up running the race with them. One fellow Loper and I did most of the course together.
2011: I'm going at it alone.
2010: I carefully constructed a playlist, divided it up into three separate playlists so I could skip ahead if need be. I wound up skipping the second one altogether because I didn't start listening to music until about Mile 8 or so.
2011: Four songs have officially made my playlist. I'm thinking of just throwing in about 4.5 hours worth of music and hitting shuffle on race day.
2010: I knew what it was like to run 22 miles. But I didn't know what it was like to run 23, 24, 25, 26 or 26.2.
2011: I know exactly what it's like to be on Mile 25 of a 26.2-mile run. Every muscle in your body is aching, every step requires a huge effort, and you feel as if you are not moving any closer to the finish line. As a fellow Loper told me, the last six miles are all mental. Been there twice, survived twice. I wouldn't say I came out unscathed but I did survive. And knowing that I survived and lived to run another day has given me the confidence I have now.