And this morning, while I was sitting in the car waiting (yes I came way early as I always do..) those doubts started to nag at me again.
Why was I doing this?
Had I done enough training? My training this year was so different..
Am I going to be humiliated and have to pull out?
Are those last few kms going to be the death of me as they were last year?
It was pretty exciting at the start though. So many people came up to me and said hi. A lot of them even knew me by name and I wasn't sure who some of them were but I guess if you start showing up at running events and races, (not to mention having a voice on facebook) people start to get to know you.
And I really love that about running. I love how everyone is just so supportive and so nice and we all want everyone else to do well.
So there was a lot of back slapping and well wishing going on at the start.
Before we knew we were off... and the start was good. I didn't think I took off as fast as I did last year but maybe that was a good thing.
Last year I remember overtaking people at the start, this year it seemed EVERYONE was overtaking me! I tried not to get discouraged because I knew the times they do are not going to affect my time.
I'm running against myself.. and I was running at just over 5min/km pace then so I was doing alright...
So I think I went pretty well on that pace till just over the halfway mark. Then we hit some winds and it wasn't that bad and maybe I would have slowed down a bit anyhow, but I forced myself not to look at my garmin. I just wanted to run to make it... But I knew I'd slowed down...
I did sneak a peak from time to time and saw that I was actually close to being able to make a sub 4 time but it would require that burst of effort which I knew I didn't have. I was working at the maximum...
And those last eight kms especially were difficult. I wanted to stop so many times but I just talked myself through it.
"Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, doesn't matter how long you take, loved ones are waiting for me at the end and they may even be there now... the quicker I get there the sooner I can see them and the quicker I can be finished..."
And it worked.
I stopped at the drink stations but only so that I could drink....
Got to the end and I just couldn't take the smile off my face.
I'd beaten last years time.
My garmin showed 4.05.02
It also showed that I ran 42.53kms so a bit longer than an actual marathon course... and believe me, when you want to die, those 300 metres mean a lot!!!
After last year's marathon I was saying "never again" but this year, although I know it was hard, I'm not saying it... I'm not saying I'm looking forward to my next one but it's definitely an option!