Embracing Your Pre-Marathon Nerves

Running a marathon a nerve-wracking and emotional experience. The morning of my first marathon I was scared out of my mind. My heart was beating a million miles a minute and there were a billion worries racing through my mind. I was legitimately nervous I wouldn’t be able to finish and even more afraid of hurting myself. Before my Dad dropped me off at the starting line he gave me this bizarre nugget of wisdom:

Life’s made for participating, you just have to survive.
— Steven Roberts

 I couldn’t stop laughing because

1. That is such a Steven Roberts thing to say


2. I was actually nervous about surviving.

But what he said is something that should be embraced. You can’t shy away from the things that scare the living daylights out of you just because you don’t think you can do them. The only way you can fail is if you don’t try.  

We experience feelings of nervousness because we care, because we are invested in the task we are about to perform or endure. It really doesn’t matter if you are ready or not. The second you cross the starting line I promise you that your nerves and worries will dissipate. I’m not going to tell you not to worry because that’s fruitless. You are going to worry! Just remember you can never do more than you are capable of, only less. Your only job is to continue to move forward when you don’t think you can take another step. All you have to do is get here.

Photo by @tomlfairbrother

Photo by @tomlfairbrother

One of the reasons I decided to try to run my first marathon was because of my brother. I lost my brother Scott in 2009 when he was 16 years old and I always try to do huge things that I don’t believe I can do for him. He was my comrade for hilarious nonsense. I think he would have gotten the biggest kick out of the selfies and the hottie hunting. People always tell you, “They’re still with you” when a loved one’s passed and I’m here to tell you that it’s true. I feel closest to him when I run. I remember near the end of my first marathon, around mile 23, I was frustrated, exhausted, and in a hell of a lot of pain and I just felt my brother with me. I could imagine him rolling his eyes and making me laugh by busting my chops. I could hear him say to me, “Seriously? You want to stop NOW? Why not just quit? Its 3 miles! At least run by Mom and Dad so they don’t see you walk.” So I started to laugh and I kept going. Every night when I run after work I look up at the illuminating New York skyline and I think about my brother. I wonder if Scott would be here with my sister Samantha and I. There’s so much he didn’t get to do. I owe it to him to at least try. This marathon is for my brother.

Here is what I love about the 50,000 runners who are running the NYC Marathon on Sunday. Every single one of us is running for something. We are running for ourselves, we are running for charities, we are running in memory of loved ones, we are running for causes, or we may be running from something. All of us collectively are running towards something huge and that is why we all are experiencing those butterflies in our stomachs. We all have something to prove and it doesn’t matter if you walk, jog, skip, dance, juggle, dribble basketballs, sprint or crawl, all we have to do is get to the finish line. It doesn't matter if you don't think you are ready because Sunday is coming and you have your purpose behind you. Let the reason you are running be your guiding light.

Going into this marathon I am just as nervous as the next runner but I am 10 times more excited. The New York marathon is a huge spectacle of a race with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers cheering you every step of the way. The second I stepped off the plane last September when I moved here I felt like I was home. I feel so incredibly jazzed to run the New York Marathon as a New Yorker.

Me and my Mommy after my first marathon.

So hold on to those nerves but get ready to let them go the second you cross that starting line on Sunday. We are only 4 days away from one of the biggest marathons of our lives. I can’t wait to you bring you with me and experience this #SIX02Moment. I will be live instagramming the marathon so if you're not already follow me at @KellyKKRoberts. And share your moments as well! Share your pictures using the hashtag #SIX02Moment on Instagram and Twitter and help me get 602 posts! SIX:02 will match all the funds I raise from 10/23-11/3 if we can get 602 posts!  Until tomorrow everyone, #RunSelfieRepeat.


Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.