Anxiety, Dread, Anticipation


Today marked our final ‘long’ run before the big race. 36 kilometres. Just 6km short of the marathon. And now we taper…


I woke up this morning feeling anxious. The furthest I had previously run was 33k. And today was longer – not a lot longer, but psychologically a big step. It also represents one of the final legs of the journey, a signal that ‘time is up’ so to speak; if I’m not ready now, I’m not going to be.

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day: sunny, but not too warm, with a beautiful breeze blowing (until a bit later on when my opinion on that breeze changed…). In the morning, I futzed about less than normal since I wasn’t concerned about what to wear. But I agonized a bit – how much breakfast should I eat? How many gels should I carry? Do I have all my affairs in order if I don’t make it?

I did make it, though. I started pretty strong, feeling enthusiastic enough at kilometre 6 to have this photo snapped midway up the UBC hill:


I saved my first gel until our second water stop in Little Australia around kilometre 13 – still feeling pretty good! We passed the half marathon mark (21k) as we were crossing Burrard Bridge, and had a brief bathroom break at the Aquatic Centre. All is well!

We followed the seawall and looped around False Creek/Science World until our third water stop and photo op under Cambie Bridge (just shy of 27k):



That’s when we learned that the planned route – the one sketched out on the whiteboard at Forerunners – was 3km short and we would have to keep going to reach our goal. OK, no problem, we can handle it…


By the time we rounded the point at Vanier Park, that breeze I mentioned earlier had turned into a strong headwind, whipping up pretty dramatic whitecaps on the ocean, and making progress taxing. My legs were starting to ache, I was getting a bit of a stitch in my side, and I was hungry.

“If this were the marathon, I’d still have another 12km to go.”

“Hell. I’d be happy to stop right now.”

“I wish I had some food.”

“There’s no way I can do this.”

These are the dreadful thoughts that might have gone through my mind if I was alone. But I had one of my running buddies with me, and we kept the conversation going. Which kept me going. A wide range of topics, some insightful, some inane – but all a great distraction from my weakening legs, my balloon-sized feet, and my grumbling stomach.


Due to a slightly circuitous route, we hit our 36k goal about half a kilometre before reaching the store – and kept running to the finish line. I got a touch of euphoria. Just enough to make me realize that I was nearly there. Not all the way, but nearly.

And maybe ready for my first marathon.

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