I'm beyond excited to be running the Gansett Marathon for several reasons, chief among them being the fact that I qualified, which was something that, a year ago, seemed like a pipe dream.
Secondly, I am thrilled that I will be on my home turf. This has meant that I've been able to train on the course many times, and it's true that knowing the course gives you an advantage. It's so helpful to know where various landmarks are, and how far or close you are to the finish.
Yes, there are mile markers for that at all races, but it's different when you can see a particular house or street sign and know in your head that you're almost to the halfway point, or heading into the final stretch. Having that 'feel' for the course is a great mental tool.
And finally, the fact that I'm racing locally - as in, 10 minutes from my house - means that Scott and the boys will be able to come see me! Not only will they be able to be there at the start, but they'll be able to drive out to a few spots and see me in the middle of the race, and then come back again for the finish.
Seeing them out there is undoubtedly going to be one of the greatest things about this experience for me.
Scott did make it down to Hartford with Carmine, and it was amazing to see them as I neared the finish line, and just after crossing it. But Hartford was a big race, with tons of crowds, in the middle of a city, and as soon as I had seen them, they had to leave - it's just not a great place to be hanging out with a toddler who likes to roam.
But this time, all four of them will be able to hang out on a nice grassy patch of land just across from the ocean, with plenty of room for the kids to run, and no crowds to fight, and no parking hassles or traffic to worry about. And they'll ALL be able to see me finish. I get goosebumps every time I think about it.
And, I'm also kinda sorta hoping that some of my local friends will be able to come out and cheer me on as well - so if you're reading this, and you live in RI, and you think you'll be able to spare a little bit of time on April 14th to take a drive into Narragansett to do some spectating, I would be forever grateful : )
Those of you who run and race know how much it means to see a familiar face out on the course, and to hear someone cheering your name.
The mental boost you get from support like that is indescribable. It can turn a tired, plodding stride into a light, quick one. It can instantly wash away any negative thoughts and/or doubts that have been slowly trying to creep into your head. It can remind you that you worked so, so hard for this, and not only do you believe you can do it, but other people do, too!
One of the things I love about this race is its small size, but that also means there will not be spectators lining the course as there are in the big marathons. And any shouts of encouragement you can provide for me - and for all the other runners out there! - would be so appreciated.
The course map is available on the race website, and if all goes well and I'm able to maintain the pace I'm planning on, I'll be passing Aunt Carrie's around 8:35am, heading up the Escape Road in Galilee around 9:30am (park on the side of the road leading out of Galilee), passing by the gazebo around 10:15am, back to Aunt Carrie's again around 10:45am, and hopefully crossing the finish line (in front of the post office) somewhere between 11:35 and 11:45am.
Yes, I am shamelessly soliciting a cheering section - knowing full well that everyone is busy, and I totally understand if you can't make it on race day, and I truly appreciate all the support and encouragement you already give me here, on Facebook, and via messages and emails.
But if you can make it, it would be wonderful. This race is a pretty big deal for me, and I'd love to not only have your support, but to share some of the excitement with you - whether you're running or spectating, the energy surrounding marathon day is a pretty amazing thing to experience : )
Two weeks and counting.......!!!!!!!!!!!