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Lining up

Three more days. THREE.

In three days, I will run 26.2 miles.

26.2 miles!

This will be, without a doubt, one of the greatest things I have ever done in my life. For me, this will rank up there with having a baby and getting a Master's Degree. I ran (well, walked) my first 5k ten years ago and caught the running bug. And even though I haven't been quite consistent in my training, running has been and always will be a great love of mine. I could no sooner give up running than give up derby.

It's been a longtime goal of mine to run a marathon, and this Sunday, I will finally do it. I will admit that my main obstacle all these years has been motivation and discipline, but as many of us know, sometimes the mental obstacles are worse than the physical ones. I've never been able to stick to a training program to adequately prepare for a marathon - arguably, I didn't stick to this one, this year, very well either, and I will be the first to admit that there was SO much I could have done better, but this is the best I have ever done, and I feel ready.

With three days left, I have done all the training that I could do - physically. What I need to do now is prep myself mentally. I need to mentally prepare for the fact that it's going to hurt, and it's going to be hard. I will probably reach a point (many points!) where my legs won't lift. I know those dark moments will come. And I need to find a way to keep going.

For the race, I plan to have a Pace Tat on my arm (so I can keep track of splits), and I've decided that next to each mile, I'm going to write a name. I'm going to dedicate each mile to a different person in my life, someone who has inspired me or helped me or supported me, in running or derby or life. And when times get tough, I will look down at my arm and see these names, and they will keep me moving towards the finish. I won't do this for every marathon I run (LOL OF COURSE I'M DOING MORE), but I thought this would be a good way to commemorate my very first one: to celebrate the people who have directly and indirectly gotten me to the start line.

I haven't yet decided the order in which these names will go on my arm - I guess I will decide Saturday night/Sunday morning. I might not decide on an order at all - I'd feel a little wrong "ranking" people. But if you are here, you are so very important to me.

(But the reverse is not true - if you are NOT here, it doesn't mean that you aren't important to me. There just aren't enough miles for me to list everyone who is important to me. I would have to run all the way across the continent!)

  • Jimmy - Without his support and patience, I would not have been able to do any of this. Period.
  • Jolie - For such a tiny human, she is so FIERCE. I'm not sure where she gets it from, because she is way more of a badass than I am. And she has crazy boundless energy, as most little kids do. She is the love and light of my life. Aside from the obvious reasons of personal achievement and sense of accomplishment, the other reason why I do all the stuff I do is because I want to set an example for her, to show her how awesome it is to be a strong female. When I run towards the finish line, I will imagine her waiting there to greet me. 
  • Mom and Dad, and my not-MIL Linh - Their love and support (and time spent babysitting!) also was crucial to my being able to achieve this goal. 
  • My students - Yep, every single one, past and present, and even some kids who were never my students, but that I had the pleasure of working with. Thanks for putting up with me. A special shout-out goes to my 2011 officers.
  • My girls, Peninsula Roller Girls - I could dedicate an entire ultramarathon to you ladies alone. Collectively, you ladies have become my second family. I may not say it much, but I could not do without you. From the vets who welcomed me with open arms to the newbies who keep me energized, I love all of you. (And I'm sorry for missing so much practice due to my running!)
  • My first coach of any sport whatsoever, Matt - I was never athletic before college, when I joined the LC swim team. Needless to say, I struggled a LOT. But by the end, even though I was nowhere near the fastest/best swimmer, the most important thing was that I realized that I COULD be an athlete. From Matt I learned about working hard (physically) and pushing through walls. And considering how the reason why I took up running was to stay in shape during the off-season, if it weren't for the confidence I gained on the swim team, I might not have ever signed up for that first 5k. 
  • My current coach at PRG, Carl - Running is a sport that I have to guide myself through, but in derby, I have Carl, and I am grateful for him. I am sure that throughout the race, anytime I start to let myself drag, I will have his voice in my head saying, "ALL I HEAR ARE EXCUSES!"
  • Lisa B.- Who actually HAS a marathon under her belt! And who constantly inspires me with her outlook on life.
  • Peter - Who has MANY marathons under his belt, in many states. Peter's advice throughout this entire process has been indispensable.
  • Demanda Riot - I know it's weird for me to put her on this list because we've only met a couple of times, but Demanda is my HERO. I wish I had her skills, but even more than that, I wish I had her work ethic. Whenever I'm feeling tired or lazy, I say to myself, "WWDD?" and that'll do the trick.
  • Lisa S. - Thank you for being such a wonderful and supportive friend. I WILL get you running with me someday, I swear it!
  • Miranda - One of my closest friends, but also one of my furthest-away friends. Thank god for the internet, huh? :) 
  • Kelly - For always encouraging me, for talking me down from my ledge of self-doubt, and for being a shining example of awesome. 
  • Kymi (and Solan too!) - Next year, we will run a marathon together. You in? Here's hoping that you will be back out there on your feet in no time.
  • Troy - It has been inspiring watching your progress as a runner. So awesome!
  • Cristina - When I first got to know you in college, I knew you were a kindred spirit. Thank you for being my friend.
  • Teresa - who was there for my first 5k, as well as that one race that with Becca where we saw Phantom Planet afterwards and met Jason Schwartzman! I love you and miss you! 
  • Trisha - who was also my running buddy for a while and did some halves with me.
  • Jen - Sometimes I think you and I are the ones who are siblings, and Khoa's the one who married in =P I love you, sister!
  • Michael - Who IS running this one with me. Well, not WITH me. More like, way ahead of me. Good luck and godspeed, I will see you at the finish line. I mean, if you haven't gone home already. 
All of these people above - I dedicate this run to you, and I will do my best to make you proud. 

"But wait," you say, "that's only 20 people. A marathon is 26.2 miles. There are only 20 people up there!"

Yup, that's right. That's because the last 6.2 miles - the 6.2 miles that are uncharted territory, the 6.2 miles that don't get covered in training but that you're supposed to be able to get through due to rest and adrenaline, the 6.2 miles that are going to be the hardest of ALL - those miles are dedicated to Becca.

Becca, who is my BFF and my running buddy and my training partner, who will be there alongside me because she will be slogging through those same 6.2 miles as well and because she lets me talk her into doing crazy sh** like training for a marathon - those miles are dedicated to her. I would not have made it to this point without her. We've been getting up at the buttcrack of dawn every Sunday for the last five months to run together. She has kept me going when my resolve was wavering, and I've tried my best to do the same for her. We've been best friends since we were fifteen, and we've been through everything on this long, hard road of life together, and now we will brave this literal long, hard road of 26.2 miles together as well. 

Wish me luck! It's really happening, isn't it? This is really going to happen!