Because you ran miles in the cold, in the sun, in the wind, in the snow, on sheets of ice and on treadmills, on days when the wind was at your back and days when you cursed the very fact that you were running at all.
Because you've been there, in all of your multicolored glory, through the months where there's nothing but white to be seen, as motorists honk and pedestrians gaze in confusion at these crazy fools out in the negative windchill. Or you've run like an animal, half naked in the summer sun, hoping to finish before the temps climbed above 90. The weather didn't matter. You ran.
Because you've broken down muscles and sat with teeth clenched in a ice bath, because you've performed amateur foot surgery on yet another black toenail, because you've diligently done your PT exercises in the hope that maybe, just maybe, that nagging injury won't hurt on race day. Because you've persevered.
Because you've done tempos, hills, fartleks, intervals, and myriad other workouts that you can explain to a non-runner but that they'll never understand. Because you gutted it out on that last 1000. Because you didn't give up in the middle of that horrible tempo. Because you carried on.
Because some days you had an exam to study for, a kid to take care of, dishes piling up in the sink, a boss with too many projects to comprehend, hardly time to think...and still you ran. You ran when the alarm went off at 4 am, you ran in the dark of night at 8 pm, you ran at lunch. Because you ignored the co-workers and friends who thought you were crazy. Because maybe, a little bit, you are.
Because there were days when you doubted. Dark days when you thought "why?". Days when you wondered "is this worth it?" Days when you felt like you were going to collapse under the weight of your own expectations, days when the wind was in your face no matter which way you turned. Because you never let your doubts overcome your passion.
Because there were good days too. Days when your feet seemed to sprout wings and carry you effortlessly along, runs with friends where the conversation made the miles fly by. Tough workouts that you finished with aching legs but a full heart. Long runs - maybe even your longest runs ever - to remember. Because you know what it's like to fly.
Because on Saturdays and Sundays, you were gone for 3 and 4 hours, leaving families, studying, work sleeping in their beds. Because you know what flavor of Gu will get you through when your legs are aching at mile 15 of a 22 miler. Because you know where the best public restrooms lie.
Because maybe you were told you couldn't. Maybe it was you yourself who thought "I can't". But somewhere deep inside, there was some tiny spark that said "you can". And because you will.
Because on race day, you will cross two lines - a start and a finish. Between those lines lies 26.2 miles of a race that you are ready to run. Because you're shooting for a PR, a BQ, a marathon finish. Because you WILL finish. Because no matter what awaits you out on the course on raceday, whatever Mother Nature can throw down from the skies, whatever your body dreams up, whatever the roads throw at you, you can trust in this: you belong here. And you are ready.
Good luck to all of my Boston Marathon running friends...I salute you all and can't wait to cheer you on out there on the course!!