Sometimes when I’m running, I like to imagine what would be the ultimate finish line crossing experience. I’d sprint past it on fresh legs, as if I’d just taken a quick lap around my development, not a grueling 26.2 miles; the Black Eyed Peas would be playing “Pump It” live from the sidelines; the race organizer would say, “What are YOU doing here? We weren’t expecting to see you for at least another hour! Marge, someone get this lady a bottle of water!”
But after my speedy-but-stressful10k experience last weekend, I realize that simply crossing that 26.2 mile mark in one relatively uninjured piece is all I can really aspire to. I’d say my top three priorities for the Miami ING would be:
1. Completing it.
2. Not requiring hospitalization during the race.
3. Not requiring hospitalization after the race.
Should the racing gods grant me those three wishes, I would get just a bit greedier:
4. Not being in excruciating pain (giant bloody blisters, shooting shin splints)
5. Not being in bearable but still very unpleasant pain (tight calves; sore butt)
6. Not having any bathroom emergencies
And getting a little greedier than that:
7. My husband and kids would actually see me cross the finish line, and wouldn’t be stuck in Miami traffic or frantically trying to find a parking space on South Beach
8. My iPod, heart rate monitor, headphones, fuel belt and sports bra would all do their jobs and not break mid-race
9. I would look something other than confused, miserable or angry when crossing the finish line—happy or proud would be great (A little race picture history: first 5k, looked frighteningly determined; second 5k, looked about to puke; first 10k, well, I think the picture below says it all)
Finally, my least important but most burning fantasy would be to:
10. Get a good time.
But if that doesn’t happen, and #1-9 do, or honestly, #1-5, I will still consider the marathon to be a totally fantastic experience.