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It's A Roller Coaster

During the running of a marathon the emotions are on a roller coaster. A lot like life itself. There are highs and lows but for the most part things are on an even keel.

The excitement begins at what is called the Expo. This is where you pick up your race bib (number). There are a number of booths that are selling stuff or giving out information on stuff. You mingle about with other runners all around. The excitement in the air is very noticeable. This is like climbing the first hill of the roller coaster.

The next morning generally after a restless night you get to the starting area. Here you hang around and try to get loose. I generally sit for awhile when I get there. After resting for 15 minutes or so Iíll get up to walk a bit and stretch. Visit with a few people I know. Generally about 10 minutes to start time, Iíll get into position in the starting chute. At this time I am getting close to the top of the first hill on the roller coaster.

The gun sounds and for the first few minutes I kind of shuffle along in the mass prior to getting into a steady run. Itís now that the anxiety part kicks in. Oh my, what have I got myself into now? It feels like I am heading down that first drop. I plug along telling myself all is going to be just fine. Remember breath with each stride and relax as you go. After a bit I get into a nice groove and things begin to calm done. I have reached the level part of my coaster ride.

Things stay pretty level for about the next 6 to 10 miles. Once you get through the first half of the run the spectators start to appear here and there along the run. The excitement of what I am doing starts to build again. Hey these people are cheering for me. I am heading up the next rise of the roller coaster.

The farther along the course the more and more spectators giving more support than I had ever imagined. People who have no clue as to who you are are cheering loudly for you. Itís quite an emotional rush. I am getting higher and higher up the emotional coaster.

Than the legs send this message to the head ďhow much farther do we have to goĒ we are tired. Here I go down the hill. Itís at this point when doubts begin to weigh on me. I do the best I can to divert my attention to a happy place. I keep going as best I can all the while telling myself to stay focused and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I am going down the big hill now.

Okay at this point I have pretty much bottomed out. My legs are tired and I am having trouble convincing myself that I wasnít an idiot for wanting to do this. Than I see the mile marker for mile 23. Hey I only have a 5k left. I can do that. Once again I up going up the roller coaster ride.

There it is the finish line. I have reached the top of the hill. However at this point there is no more down hills. I did it. An emotional rush that can overwhelm a guy to tears.