Some quick pre-race thoughts from both of us:

Michael: 

The day is finally here. I'm writing this about an hour before the start of Grandma's Marathon, on the shuttle bus to the start line. We drove through rain to get here. There are threatening skies all around us, and we could very well get poured on during the 5 hours or so we expect to use to run 26.2 miles.

 
But I am ready. 
 
I'm not sure what the hardest part of this marathon process was. Starting at all, not sure if my body could handle it? Finding the time to do the training in the midst of a busy work and home life? Pounding out 20 miles at the gym because it was the only way to do it with the time and weather allotted?
 
It could be any of those things. But raceday? It's hard in its own way, but it's never the hardest part. This is the payoff, and even if it rains or we struggle at times, we need to appreciate this time. It's a privilege to be here. We are lucky to have bodies that can do this. 
 
I can't wait to finish, but I'm even more excited to start.
 
Julie:
 

For the past 24 hours or so, the overarching emotion I've felt is trepidation. While I know I can finish a marathon--I've finished three before--this one has been the toughest to train for. Like childbirth, I've felt a whole range of emotions over this past 16 weeks (really, 14 1/2 months since Anabel was born). I've felt joy and pride, sure--and I've dipped into self-doubt and fear. 

This week, I experienced a challenging ethical dilemma in my professional life that forced me to utilize all the skills I've learned to manage my anxiety. I breathed, I meditated (I like doing the "body scan" exercise), and I've reframed my mental focus to the most important things in life: Michael, Anabel, family, health, love, friends, and so on. Oh, and I took my anti-anxiety meds and told myself to keep my chin up. 

The thing is, through all of life's challenges, the serious and the petty, it's important to maintain a level of self-acceptance that allows us to see the bigger picture. Michael has always been helpful in assisting me to see greater perspective in my times of trial--and to encourage me to maintain my self-confidence, to set boundaries, and not to apologize for them. As time has gone forward (this is our fourteenth year together, he recently reminded me), I have learned to apply these skills myself--and better: to help others to utilize them too. 

The greatest takeaway I have from this week, this training session, this year is this: we all know life happens--we can't prepare for what will be thrown at us, and we'll never have ALL the answers. AND while it's human to experience all the emotions, including doubt, that come along with life's curveballs, the singular most important thing is to stay true to your character. Integrity, transparency, honesty, and humility--these are the things that not only make us human, but which connect is to others with authenticity. 

While one may see this blog as simply a project or a silly diversion, I have taken my duty seriously--sharing my truth as I have experienced it while training for my first marathon post-partum alongside my newly diagnosed husband. 

We've been through a lot of negatives this past year, but today will be a positive: something we are achieving against all odds. My hope is that the authenticity of our story will, if nothing else, remind others that despite the drawbacks, life is worth celebrating. 

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