Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory... lasts forever. Shane Falco That about sums it up. First time runners you are about to cross a threshold that many only give a glancing thought. About 1% of the population will run a marathon; meaning the half, full or both. You have won the battle. There are no more hard fights, only the celebration of the weeks of training remains. You can and will do this in less than 2 weeks. Take this time to heal up, rest up but not eat up. You have one longer run between you and race day. Take this time to reflect on you accomplishments. Who would have thought a 6 mile run could ever be phrased, only a short 6 miler today. Hopefully, any lingering injuries will heal up during taper. Remember you packing list. Check it twice. Bring your race gear (shoes, socks, clothing) in your carry on. Throw down stuff, fuel and other items not worn can go in checked bags if you do not have room. You can always replace this stuff in Orlando in the unlikely event of getting lost. Get a GREAT nights sleep the night BEFORE the night before. For the half, that means Thursday is the night you should target for a good nights sleep. I can almost guarantee the night before the big run will find you tossing and turning. You will try to hit the bed early only to find you can actually hear the fireworks very well, have neighbors who really enjoyed the fireworks and hear the guy two doors down snore. Do not worry about getting lots of sleep that night. Do set your watch and phone alarms as well as the rooms alarm and ask for a wake up call. You never know, I find that I have my best sleep just before wake up time. Though since 99, I do not think I have ever been in bed when an alarm sounded. Try to get on the bus in the 0330 range. While early, there is a special feel to the staging area that you will want to experience; from the sleepy looks, scared looks, the band, Tony Horton, The green army solder, etc. Make a friend. Talk to your neighbor. If your crew came out, pick a spot for the post race reunion. From the staging area, you will pass through the bag check tent area to a runners only area. You need to show your bib to go past here. Once in the corral, you will not be the only person who is nervous, frightened, scared insert your own adjective. Use this as a positive energy to do a systems check. Once the gun sounds, make an effort to make you first mile at training pace, or just a little slower. Your visual speed sensor will always try to return to the pace you first run, so slower is better at first. After you get into a pattern, take in the race. Look at the mile markers, take photos, keep an eye open for things that you see. Disney peppers the course with many special attractions. Most of all create GREAT memories of your race even if things may not be going as well as hoped. Focus on the new scenes, the characters, the magic, other runners, find that inner peace. Remember, nice easy deep breathing so you stay relaxed. If speed challenged, keep an eye on your pace but stay within yourself. Remember, the relentless pursuit of forward momentum. For the half folks, MK is the high point of the course . The stretch just after the park can be a let down. Do not let it be! Run with purpose but again, stay within yourself. Once you pass the GF and Poly, it is a very short jog to mile 10 and the cloverleaf turn up and onto Epcot. You have three not so bad overpasses to cross you crossed the second of the three at mile 1, so remember they are just not all that bad. Nice easy breaths and you are in Epcot and home. For the full, MK is still the high for many, but it is only mile 5. Stay on pace and let the new course bring a few surprises. The marathon really starts at mile 20. We will be in WWoS at mile 20 and Disney promises something special. But once out of the park, we are on the return side of an out and back. Look at the faces of those you are meeting and draw energy from these folks. Before long, we hit the Osceola, World Dr interchange the dreaded uphill cambered bridge. Just take it one step at a time. It is only 0.12 miles long. You can do anything for a couple minutes, right? After this interchange, its a short jog in the shade on World Dr then into DHS. Remember, once through DHS, its Boardwalk, Beach Club, Epcot and HOME! Post race, remember recovery drink, clean up, and then head out for a walk. You will not feel like walking so a short nap is ok, but then get up and move. Most of the next days stiffness can be alleviated with movement. Wear your medal. You earned it! You will have several hundred nods an hour from folks in the park. Share your stories and enjoy your stroll. Wear your medal on the plane home. You will not be the only person wearing one. You will have to remove it at TSA, but otherwise, enjoy it. You will see another runner or two dig theirs out after they see you. Finally, when you get home, you will realize that you are a changed person. You are now somehow different. You are a marathoner. Bring your medal to work. Share your stories, but understand that not all will be thrilled to hear them. Thats ok. You will have lots of questions. You are the expert for folks who are thinking of running one. Make sure you talk about the weeks of training if the questioner is thinking about running one. Yes, you will receive numerous questions along the lines of, Now tell me, was that one of those 3 mile marathons or what? On a personal note, I enjoyed helping each and every one of you through this process. While not obvious, you see I draw much more from you than you from me. I draw energy through your experiences, questions and replies. Without each of you, I may well have retired this year or a couple years ago. Each of you helps get me out the door, or into the gym to get a run in or some other training in. For that, I say thank you! Its been an honor being coach.