This time next Sunday I will have been “on the run” for 2 hours, 20 minutes, nearing mile 14 in the beautiful community of Druid Hills.

Today will be one of rest spent with family and church. I will contemplate the week, the marathon, and try to relax. I have my gear ready, my clothes are already laid out. I’m not sure what the weather will be, so I have several clothing options ready.

I hope I will be able to relax on the morning of the marathon and enjoy the run just as if it were a training run. I feel my body tense up and feel the nerves welling up inside my gut at the thought of running 26.2 miles. I know I can do it. I’m ready. I’ve trained for it. I’m prepared. I guess the first time for anything is somewhat nerve racking.

Today, I will take a deep breath and try to relax.

Today, I will think about:

The giant invisible rubber band by Jeff Galloway

On all marathons, I carry with me this device, which is mounted to my shorts in the small of my back. When someone passes me in the late stages, my left brain explodes with a stream of discouragement: “Look how smoothly he or she is running and how ragged you are.” It’s easy to listen and give in to those logical messages, which are only trying to reduce my effort and slow me down.

Instead, I attack by throwing the giant rubber band over the head of whoever had the audacity to pass me. For a while, the lead may grow. During the next few hundred meters, I fill in a great number of details, such as imagining how the tension on the rubber band is increasing and cutting off the oxygen supply to the brain of the person I have “rubber-banded.” Surely he or she will have to slow down.

At some point I must laugh at myself for such a ridiculous conception. But laughing helps to send me into the right side of my brain, and I relax. Limber legs turn over quicker, and I usually catch up with, or pass, the person who passed me. The giant invisible rubber band has worked again!

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