Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Running chronicles; I'm going to do what?
This time last year, I was preparing for my fifth 5K and running only weekly. My hope for that race was to finish in less than 28 minutes. I was kind of nervous.
Today, I am three days away from my first half marathon. 13.1 miles. I've barely put much thought into the race, the distance, the event. I don't have a costume. I am not nervous about running this race. I am nervous because I'm not nervous. What?
In April of this year I ran a 5 mile race which was paired with a half marathon. I remember one woman saying something about the last half she did, and another woman saying she and her husband had done several halfs and they loved that distance. I was about to embark on only my second 5 mile race, my longest distance race at that time, and wondering how anyone could actually do a half marathon. 13.1 miles was not yet in my running vocabulary, nor anywhere near my radar. Heck, I'd set out in 2011 to do 10k's and that was a pretty big goal!
Here I am, just days away from running a half marathon. I'm going to run 13.1 miles. ME?
I haven't had my usual bout of nerves, counting mileage, self-doubt, questioning why I signed up, none of that. That's what I did to myself last year with almost each 5K. That's what I did before many of my races this year (5k's, 8k's, 10k's, 5 milers). Why have I not started to freak out this time?
The weather seems to be cooperating thus far and is forecasted to be cold but not raining or snowing. I don't really want to talk (well, write) about how I'm feeling physically. Mentally, though, I'm oddly calm, confident, and collected. This is quite unlike me.
Logically, I have no reason to question myself. I really stepped it up this year. I increased my mileage, started running more often, and joined a racing team, thus adding track work and varied my routes. I've been stretching and rolling. I've slowed down, I've gone faster, I've gone farther, I've gone better. So why am I stuck thinking that I should be throwing up with anxiety and doubt? Why am I telling myself I should be worried? Why do I feel like a half marathon is something I should be taking so much more seriously? Why do I feel like 13.1 miles isn't out of my reach? I keep thinking, "It's just a half", as if it's something simple, like going up the stairs. Not that it won't be a challenge - believe me, this will be a challenge - but I am not feeling like this is insurmountable.
I just put my bib, timing chip, and Nuun in my gear bag. I will wash my race clothes tomorrow after tonight's track workout. I've got everything where it needs to be so it's ready when I depart, and the last item on my list is my play list.
Wait, that's it! I have always been focused on the tunes, the play list, the order of the songs I choose and what mile I should be at with each song. I have recently decided, though, to go on shuffle for my solo runs, and sans music when I run with the team or do a group run. Yes, freaky play list me, I've actually mixed it up, literally. Now that I've said that, I know why I'm not freaking out about 13.1 miles. It's because I haven't been focusing on 13.1, I haven't been mapping out when each song should start and end, I haven't had the chance to obsess about where I should be when, or what I should be hearing at a certain distance, or when P!nk will announce that it's time to raise a glass. That's it, that's why I'm not obsessing about this race.
I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Either way, one thing I am totally looking forward to, which sounds kind of silly, is putting that little oval sticker on my car, announcing that I can go the distance, 13.1!