I've started reading an interesting book called Body, Mind and Sport. It's a little crunchy, preaching the need to connect the mind and body in exercise in a way that gets past the "no pain, no gain" mentality. I'm a little skeptical, because I've never thought the enjoyment of exercise being mutually exclusive from getting over pain. One part I do embrace is how it's the process that matters much more than the outcome. That made it quite easy for me to get over not breaking three hours in the marathon. I appreciated the training that got me to the point where I was in position to accomplish that.
Another important aspect I've found in distance running is to embrace the unexpected. In any long journey, things happen not quite as we expect. Every marathon has moments that go awry in some way. That can be what makes it interesting. My adventures in triathlon have already had curveballs, mostly because I haven't done enough planning. Today, I found out that if you don't make a rental car reservation quickly, there won't be cars anywhere in New York City. That was a bummer. But there's always a way. I'm now taking my bike on a NJ Transit train and hitching a ride with my uncle. If worse came to worst, I was willing to ride 15 or so miles to my aunt's and then to the race. Why not? I've had much worse before marathons, including a cancelled flight that made running the race impossible, severe stomach problems, etc.
I'm sure that won't be the first bump in the road, particularly since this is my first triathlon. My only hope is that the snafus are minor and don't involve something major during the swim or bike. I really don't want to try to change a flat in the midst of the race. That would suck. Other than that, I'm ready for whatever comes my way. I'm really going into this pretty blind. I have no idea how long it will take me, or how much it will hurt.