Less than one week from the New York City Marathon, the circumstances of my return to the Big Apple couldn’t be any more different from 2014.
It took months to overcome lost fitness and motivation, injuries and self doubt. Slowly, the simplicity of a routine brought strength, confidence and commitment to a singular goal to rebuild myself as a runner.
Those ingredients fueled a strong 2015. By the start of this year, my sights were set on making this year my best — and most memorable — as a runner. It was meant to be epic.
But the road isn’t always easy.
In 5 days, I will be reminded how difficult the journey can be. The past few months have brought little routine, inconsistent training and fewer miles.
As runners, we’ve all read or heard advice from the “experts” who tell marathoners to adjust expectations based on the weather, job changes, moves or injuries. Up until now, after 21 marathons, I’ve never accepted that advice. On Sunday I won’t have a choice.
During the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for the motivation. Along the way, I’ve gone back to read “How Bad Do You Want It?” by Matt Fitzgerald, hoping to take a new approach to the 2016 New York City marathon. In short, what motivated me earlier in Fargo and Grandma’s probably isn’t going to yield the same results due to fitness and other factors.
My definition of a great race can’t be based on the clock. But I can’t look too far ahead, beyond the task at hand, and risk sabotaging the race.
On Sunday morning, as I step on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the race will take on a different meaning — with little expectations, far different than the ones I set 2 years ago when I vowed to someday return to run New York.