When I ran Surf City in 2010 and 2011, I was one of many runners on the course. I got somewhat lost in the crowd at the San Francisco Marathon as one of many who tackled the hills last July.
When I line up for my fourth marathon in a week and a half (!) I will likely encounter different circumstances. I might find myself all alone on the course.
The Diamond Valley Lake Marathon will be a much smaller race. Much smaller. How many runners finished last year's marathon?
That's a five followed by a zero.
I thought the marathoners I lined up alongside at Surf City were small and hearty, but this is taking small to another level.
I won't have the sometimes pleasant distraction of watching fellow runners, of yo-yoing ahead and behind other runners, of trying to keep up with or stay ahead of others.
I will be lonely out there on the course.
Seven runners finished between 4:20 and 4:40 last year. I think I'll come in somewhere around that window of time, so if statistics hold for this year I'll be running with maybe a handful of other runners if I'm lucky.
Now, I'm not entirely upset or bothered by this. I knew the race was small when I signed up for it. I suppose this 50-runner figure is just a bit of a surprise, something that I just realized this morning.
I've prepared mentally for this race, having run 10 of my recent 20-miler on a track. I proved I can take a mental pounding that day, so whatever mental challenges this small race poses I hopefully will be ready for.
And ultimately, it will be a new experience, to run a marathon essentially alone.
I suppose if I get frustrated I can scream really loud and nobody's going to be around to hear it, nobody's going to think I'm crazy or anything.