Since making my personal declaration last Sunday that I will indeed be running the New York City Marathon this weekend, I’ve been asked a lot of questions by runners and nonrunners, family and friends, and everyone else in between about the upcoming race. When are you starting? What’s the weather going to be like? What are you wearing? Are you running a sub-3:05 or sub-3:00? Should I wait for you on the east side of
Maybe it’s because of the pressure and expectation to perform close to what my half-marathon would have predicted. Maybe it’s the uncertainty of running with an injury, no matter how minor it might seem. Or maybe it’s the complicated weather pattern forecasted for this race which has me worried about the start. (I am a notoriously slow starter in the cold.) The truth is, I’m not exactly sure why. It just is. I’m just nervous because this race is important to me. For this one day once a year, I get to show my friends, my family, and my hometown fans what exactly I do best. By seeing me run, they may perhaps understand my motivation for skipping out on open bar happy hours, late night movies, and weekend family gatherings. For me, I want to show that that was all “worth it” in the end. For them, I do not want to “mess up”. Even if inherently I know that my exact time of finish is not so important to these spectators, it is important to me as a sign that I didn’t just run the marathon, but ran it well. I believe that is what Steve PreFontaine was talking about when he said “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” Is it so wrong to want to share your gift in front of all my family, friends and colleagues in the world’s greatest stage? I would think not.
An early best wishes for all those who will be showing off their “gifts” to the city with me on marathon Sunday. I, for one, can hardly wait.