It's hard to believe but here we are with only one week to go until this half-marathon. Where did that time go? It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant thinking about my first post-partum run. Am I ready? I think so. I won't be setting a personal record, but I think I have put in an honest training effort and obtained my goal of rebuilding mileage and fitness to complete the distance for this race and then focus on getting faster with my next one. Am I tired? I'm glad you asked...yes! In the spirit of keeping it real, I do find fitting in my "ideal" training plan with the wee ones, work and life in general a little bit tougher than I had imagined it would be. Purchasing a treadmill over the holidays was a blessing and I'm confident my training would not have been where it is at this point without it.
Today was my last long run and I covered 12 miles. Funny thing is that my training plan actually called for my last long run of 12 miles to be last week, but somehow I calculated my training weeks off a little bit and I didn't realize my error until this week. Ooops. Ideally, I would have covered 12 miles last week, followed by a regular week of mid-distance runs ranging 4-6 miles and then a 6 miler this weekend with a taper next week. When I realized the error, I contemplated skipping the 12 mile run and going with 6 for the weekend, but I just couldn't do it. Mentally, I felt like I needed to do 12 miles. Physically, I don't know that a taper is all that important this round as I am not really running "hard." This event is all about rebuilding some mileage and fitness so I haven't been doing speed work. My long, slow runs have started to feel easier over the last couple of weeks and I feel comfortable as far as cardio is concerned. My hips still feel tight after 8'ish miles but it isn't so uncomfortable to be a problem right now.
So going into next week I am both excited and nervous. I'm excited to be back at a race, full of positive people with fitness ambitions and a zest for life. I'm also excited for that post-race event that will have Lindt Chocolate. Yes, you read that correctly. I have learned that the post-race gathering area will have Lindt Chocolate and I have actually envisioned the feeling of completing a frosty 13.1 miles on the Atlantic Coast and being greeted with velvety smooth chocolate. What can I say? I have a problem.
As for the nerves, they are there even though I have a relaxed goal for this race. I have no "time" goal for this race, but I am still nervous and anticipate the jittery stomach next Sunday morning. I have learned that no matter the distance, goal or purpose of a race, I always have race day jitters. Every. Single. Time. This got me thinking. Why do I get nervous for every event??? I thought on it...and thought some more....and I think I have the answer.....
My race day jitters stem from the commitment I make to myself for an event. When I put my toe to the line, I commit to myself to do the best I possibly can. To do the best I possibly can, I have to get to the point that I envision in my mind as a "crossroads." The crossroads is a point when everything in my body says "No! Stop! You could just be enjoying a bagel and coffee on the couch silly girl," and the only way to do my best from that point is for my mind to go all "Braveheart" on me, scream "Freedom" as a battle call to keep the legs going (silently of course- I promise I won't wear blue face paint and scare you out there) and charge through to the finish. When I get to that "crossroads," temptation can easily set in. Temptation to walk when I don't have to. Temptation to stop when I don't need to. Temptation to back off. All of these temptations are not visible to race spectators. I could opt for any one of those options and no one would know the difference. No one would know that I didn't leave everything out there....except me. I would. I would wonder. I would say "next time." I would inevitably wish I hadn't given in.
Those "crossroads" are tough mentally...and physically. I think it's safe to say that we've all been there. It's why I get nervous, but it's also why I love running. Running is something I don't have to do, but I am honored to do it and blessed to have the good health to do it....and I get that much stronger every time I hit those "crossroads" and keep pushing. So, that's my plan for next Sunday: get stronger!
Before I go, check out these new, awesome gloves I scored at Christmas....they will be with me next week!
Do you get jitters before your races? Have a great week!