Thursday, May 2, 2013

Races are like weddings: You only get one, and you want it to be perfect.

Now, many amazing bloggers have written great posts comparing running and marathons to real life situations. I love this post comparing marriage and a marathon. So true, so true. I also love this post comparing pregnancy/childbirth to a marathon. (I haven't experienced that yet, but the post was very realistic...hence having experienced one but not the other yet!) So, while talking to a friend about goal race day, I got to thinking: A wedding is kind of like race day.

Now, as the title states, you only get one. Some get more, but hey, more power to them. However, in our MINDS, when it comes to a goal race that you've been working 6-8 months towards (The shorter end of an engagement length), you only get one goal race. You NEED that ONE race to be PERFECT. Here are my thoughts on how these two events are so similar. 

You register, and you get all tingly. This is really real! You've registered for something you really want! YIPPEE!!! 

You weather stalk obsessively. Some races have rain, sleet, snow, heat, but we race regardless of the elements. We pray for 50 degrees and partly cloudy on race day, obsess over precipitation percentages, and hope for the best. I prayed for 6 months straight for snow...and we got an insane storm the day before our wedding! It added some stress, but it was exactly the way we wanted it. 


Spoiler alert: Wedding photo too soon...it's the only one with snow in it!

You get to your dream weight and get your nails done. Yup. After a good training cycle, I generally feel fit and ready. But of course, race nails MUST happen. (Guys, maybe a new hair cut???)
Take note: Never have I been this light, nor do I think I ever will be again!

The day of is FILLED with jitters. Getting the shoes, the outfit, your Sparkly Soul band; EVERYTHING must be ready and set to race. 
I borrowed my sister's veil...it's no Sparkly Soul, but it did the job.

Once you get to the start, your heart is racing, ready to go. Some of us tend to need liquid courage, perhaps by way of a gel or gatorade. Maybe getting to the start was stressful, or maybe you couldn't get down your breakfast in time before getting to your corral.
I needed some liquid courage because of a terrible unplowed road keeping me from my wedding. 

Then, suddenly, it's go time. The National Anthem is sung or played, maybe New York, New York is blasting on the Verrazzano, or your favorite song is playing in your earphones. Maybe, just maybe, a few tears well up in excitement and emotion because this is it: What you've been waiting to do and planning for many months.
This was the most attractive crying photo of me. The others were just plain embarrassing. 


There's a crowd watching and cheering for you. You run like the wind, hoping that it won't go by too fast, or too slow. You hope you'll remember every moment of it, enjoy every moment of it, cherish every moment of it.
Not exactly cheering, but you get the picture.

Then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, the finish is before you. Smile for those cameras! It's time to get that finish line photo that you will screen shot out, or, if it's good enough, buy! You cross the finish line with a feeling of accomplishment. THERE. I DID IT.


Biggest smile ever. It was a truly beautiful finish.

THEN: THE AFTER PARTY. This also takes plenty of planning as well! First things first: WHERE'S THE FOOD?!


I didn't eat dessert for 6 months. I had two pieces of cake. Well worth it.


You see friends and CELEBRATE. You're done! You thank those who came out to support you, and celebrate the joyous occasion of completing your race.
At the end, the shoes always come off!

However, not every race goes as planned. There may be heat, snow, sleet or rain. There may be something vital you forgot to pack. There may be people who back out at the last minute. You may not feel at your optimal "best body" self. You may panic thinking you're not ready. Things may happen at the wrong time. When these things happen in your "Goal Race", the race that you NEED to go perfect, I give you the advice all my friends who are getting married:

Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't major on minors. Enjoy every moment regardless of little bumps in the road along the way. Remember what you're doing and why you're doing it.

The good thing about races? There's going to be more than one. I was so encouraged by Meggie's post about continually toeing the line of marathons to qualify for Boston. In my heart, my most recent half marathon was my big goal race of the year, and I didn't make my goal. I was pretty down about it. I gave myself my own advice and remembered: I love running, this is why I do what I do.


I love Mr. Miller, that is why I did what I did.

So, if you're entering a big goal race and think there's only one and it MUST be perfect: Stop. Breath. Run. Enjoy every moment of it.

How about you? Have you ever compared running to a non-sporty thing? Do you put all your eggs in a basket? Do you come back stronger if you don't meet your goals on the first try? TELL ME ABOUT IT!
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