From the desk of the blogger: This post was originally written the day before the 2013 London Marathon and marks the beginning of my road to pre-marathon zen. May I come closer and closer to finding that pre-race peace as we continue down the Road to Rio.
I always used to get nervous the night before a marathon. Everything changes in the week leading up to a big race. I become hyper sensitive to how my body is feeling and why it is feeling the way it is. I'm suddenly in a new city, training in a different environment, and surrounded by all of my competitors.
For the most part the differences are easy to ignore. Focus on catching up with old friends, enjoying bits and pieces of a new location. But you can no longer ignore the underlying reason why you are there the night before the race. The evening is taken up with equipment preparation, technical meetings and organized pre-race dinners. No matter how prepared you are for the race, it can all get overwhelming if you are not careful.
I'm not nervous this year, however. For whatever reason I am in a state of calm as I go through my plan for the morrow. The London Marathon is one of the highlight races of the year for a wheelchair racer. This race, above all others with only the exception of the New York City Marathon, offers phenomenal treatment to its elite wheelchair racers. Where Boston was disorganized to the point where many athletes (myself included) had their transport from Boston Logan to the hotel screwed up, the London Marathon has a wonderful representative meet every single one of their athletes as soon as they get off the plane (yes, off the plane, before customs and baggage). Where Boston scatters their athletes in hotels around the city with only a choice few in the host hotel, London has a host hotel that is only for elite athletes, both able-bodied and wheelchair. London does marathoning the way marathoning should be done and is consistently rewarded with the deepest fields of the year.
This also means that I will be racing against all of the fastest racers on the planet tomorrow. Something else that would typically leave me a bit jittery. Though this year, excitement is all I feel. I'm mentally prepared for the challenge. There are plenty of wheels to find(as in draft...stick my front wheel right behind), plenty of racers to work with, plenty of racers I have never beaten before to have a crack at beating. Best case scenario, I kill myself in a sprint finish with the lead pack. Worst case scenario, the race turns into a time trial and I push till my arms fall off picking off racers along the way.
The lead up week has been a great one. The craziness of Boston has worn off a little (though still piqued with curiosity to hear more about the man they just caught), I've gotten small nice recovery training in, and even got to spend an amazing morning at the Lichtenstein exhibit at the Tate Modern just down the river. The Tower Bridge looms outside my window, and the Tower itself squats across the street from the hotel. Tomorrow morning we get to invade the streets of London and once again test the evolution of our bodies.
On this Marathon Eve there is excitement in the air. I've had serious highs and serious lows at this race. Tomorrow I get to write in a new year of experiences. It will be good.