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!