But I learned a long time ago that the marathon does not care about your own personal milestones. As chance would have it, the weather for this race was right in the sweet spot of what decimates me: namely heat and humidity. But having been down this road before many times, I was able to change my race plans on the fly and have a successful day. And by “successful” I mean crossing the finish line upright and officially, even if it was with a ton of chafing.

Instead of using the nervous energy to propel me forward, I instead used it to hold myself back and then kick where and when I could. Undoubtedly these are things one can only learn in time or by following the advice of others. However, knowing that nerves and anxiety are often your friends, and not your foes, is a key lesson for beginners to learn.