This is part 2/3. If you missed part 1, you can read it here!
In the warmup tent, after the women pin the numbers on each other and get our shoe chips clipped on, I find my way over to the chiropractor table to have Dr. Duke loosen me up before my warmup. Realistically, there is nothing I need done, but it helps settle my mind to have someone fuss over me a bit, and Duke’s energy is great.
As I lay down, I am approached by someone who tells me that my temporary tattoos have to be removed or I can’t participate in the race. I had been told otherwise several weeks prior, and was super pumped when I thought I could put the name of my business, Picky Bars, on my skin while running past two million people! I bring that up calmly, but I am reminded that I was emailed the IAAF uniform rules nine days ago and that tattoos were against IAAF rules.
I had only skimmed the rule book to be honest, assuming most of it had to do with uniform restrictions and Nike would have that covered (which they did) so I apologize and comply. A Doctor comes over to scrub them off, but since all we have are little alcohol prep pads from travel first aid kits, it hurts like a mofo and takes AGES! We do the best we can until we hear the “8 minute warning” before I must head to the start line. I remember thinking that no amount of chaffing in the race could be that uncomfortable, so at least that’s over with.
Wait a minute, its the eight minute warning and I haven’t even warmed up yet! As I slip out of our holding tent onto the road to jog a bit, I slow my breathing and calm my anxiety. “None of that matters,” I whisper to myself. “You don’t need to warm up much. Its a marathon for God’s sake.” Finding my rhythm I repeat affirmations to myself, “I am relaxed, I am calm, I am excited to see what I can do out there, I am prepared, I love to run.”
A voice booms over a megaphone interrupting my zone, “Two minute warning! Gather your things and put them in the truck. It’s time to head to the start!”
Holy shit. I grab everything I can and stuff it into my Nike bag, and with pieces falling halfway out I hurriedly hand it off to a stranger and shuffle to catch up with the rest of the elite women marching to the starting line. We chit chat along the way, and I try to absorb their calm resignation to the task ahead. I slurp my last minute gel and borrow a swig of water to wash it down. Rather than wait in line for a toilet, Tegla Leroupe and I disappear over the median for a last minute pee and all I can think about is that I am peeing next to a legend.
As the pre-race favorites get lined up in the front row for introductions, I tuck into the back row with Molly Pritz. There is no tension. There is only a quiet pack of fit bodies waiting for the gun, staring out toward the massive structure of the bridge ahead as it reaches up towards the very sun that warms our exposed skin.