"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
For many of you, race day, the culmination of many months of training is nearly upon you. Your devotion and sacrifice towards a goal have helped you grow as both a runner and a person. No matter how race day goes, you are different than the person that first set your goal. Putting yourself through the training required to compete in an event that last for hours takes some gumption and has strengthened your mettle and resolve. You've prepared yourself as best you can. All that is left is to toe the line and test yourself. No matter what obstacles you face on race day, there is no failure. As the great Australian coach Percy Cerutty once said, "Fail, it's not in my dictionary. I've got a good dictionary and the words 'fail' and 'failure' have been ruled out for years. I don't know what people are talking about who use that word. All I do know is temporary non-success..." You will finish your race a better, stronger person than you were just months ago - and that is worth more than any medal or trophy, which are only symbols of the work you had already accomplished.
During your race, be prepared to push and sweat and suffer, just as you have in training for the last several months. But also remember to relish in the empowerment of all that you have and will continue to accomplish. Welcome to the new, stronger you. It's the journey, not the destination, that matters.
Good Luck and Happy Racing!