2011_09_MarquetteMarathon: COMMIT, You’ll Figure It Out

Toe up on the start line, looking over my shoulder at the apprehensive runners clad in short-shorts to my left, I was about to compete in my first marathon with less than 24 hours notice.

Here is my imperfect chance to reach a long standing goal. Since childhood, I had wanted to run the Boston Marathon, and the qualification times were about to get tougher. A week prior, Irene’s threatening weather persuaded Quebec City to cancel the full marathon, one for which I had spent seasons training. My training buddy had already booked a ticket to Washington to try his luck the last weekend before Boston registration. It had been sever long weeks since my last long run. I ran a hard fast 10 miler Thursday morning, and was feeling a bit tired and sore. I didn’t get much more than a few hours sleep on Thursday night.

Early Friday morning I was reviewing the Marathon options nationwide for the upcoming weekend. With some help from friends I had narrowed it down to Marquette, Michigan, but there were challenges to overcome. Online registration was closed and I wouldn’t be able to arrive by plane in Marquette until well after the in-person registration. I would have to figure out planes, cabs, and hotels for the weekend, and be comfortable with the costs involved. I was starting to feel overwhelmed, but figured the first step was to email the race director and find out if she could help me register.

While waiting to hear back from her, I called my parents to ask for advice. They were great at being supportive and focusing on my deliberation. When they asked if I could afford the trip, I came to realize that although it was definitely not in the budget, I could make it work. I earned that money so I could do what I enjoy and why not use it for something I care so much about? Logistics, game on!

My dad has battled cancer, and won, three times over the past few years. This year, he decided to commit to riding the PMC, a 160 mile, 2-day, bike ride and raising $4,000 for cancer research. Having had days where going from the bed to the couch was a workout, he felt incredibly overwhelmed at just the thought of the first day. He had no idea how he would be doing physically 8 months from when he registered for it, but either way he had committed to fundraising and training to ride. Fast forward several months to the end of the first day of the ride… We notice a PMC shirt with a slogan that speaks to him, “Commit, you’ll figure it out.”

By committing, I am telling my body and mind to work together to make that commitment a reality. I then reframe problems from the perspective of “How can I make this work?” instead of “Can this work?” and am able to find solutions.

I committed to doing everything I could to make it to the start of the Marquette Marathon and run a Boston Qualifying time. Soon enough, I received a phone call from the race director saying that even on the day before her race, she was willing to help make sure I got registered. Hotels and planes fell right into place. I even ended up with two locals offering me a ride from the airport to my hotel at nine o’clock at night.

I had barely eaten anything all day while tackling the logistics of traveling. Walking around the airport with two heavy bags on my shoulders, all that was crossing my mind was, “please, let me start this race”. As I was boarding the final leg of the trip, I met two other runners heading to Marquette, one local and one Bostonian with a similar sore spot for Irene’s timing in Quebec.

As I exited the doors of the Marquette’s singular airport terminal at 9pm, I quickly realized that there were no taxi stands here. Great! I kind of wanted to see if I could make some friends and hitch a ride. I made conversation with a man waiting to be picked up, in hopes he would offer me a ride. Just as he does, the local runner swings by and suggests we chat about running while she drives me to town. Um, yes!

Bright green short shorts, bib and pins, shoes and the specific pair of racing socks are finally all laid out by about 10:30pm. Both meditations and superstitious habits observed to their fullest.