UNDER 2 HOURS!!! < 2 HOURS!!! SUB 2 HOURS!!!
But wait…breathe…calm. First thing’s first:
There was rain. There was pain. There was even a train. And oh yes, there was an evil, little brain.
When I woke up at 5 a.m. Sunday morning and heard the monsoon crashing at my window, the last thing I wanted was to get up and run a half marathon. And so, when Big Ring commented that his throat was feeling a little tickly, I offered to forgo the run in the name of his health. And when both my shoulders were feeling a little sickly, I suggested maybe it wasn’t wise to put them through 21.1 km. And when the border line up was more like 40 minutes and not the advertised 10, I proposed we opt not to face the sure-to-be prickly border guard and hightail it quickly back home.
The fierce jitters in my stomach were getting the better of me!
Nerves are not new for me. Every race day, doesn’t matter the distance, the insides of my stomach are jumping all over the damn place, but Sunday, oh man, I thought I was going to puke.
If you haven’t already figured this out, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, and I tend to compare my results to that of others, and think, if they can go that fast, I surely can too. (I know. I know.) I had worked super hard this running season to get to this race, I had embraced speed intervals, something I loathed, I had taken up strength training, something I had never done prior, and I had raced, my goodness, I had raced. And so, going into this half marathon, everything inside me told me I should be finishing with a good time, I should be finishing with a personal best, I should be achieving the goals I set out earlier this summer. But then there was that thing called injury – plural – that had left me sidelined a few times through my training, and most notably through what was supposed to be the most difficult month of my training. And knowing that, I feared the disappointment I might be facing post run.
So, that caused some of the jitters.
And then there was my attire. I had planned my race day wardrobe Saturday afternoon. There had been torrential downpour Saturday too, but for some reason, I don’t know why, I thought it wise to dress in my lightest top, with my shortest running shorts. No tights. No long sleeves. No arm warmers. Well, Sunday morning, in the car, and then at the race site prior to the race, I was cursing that decision. It was wet! It was cold! I had packed a warmer running shirt for after the race, but was beginning to wonder if I should wear it on the race, but what if it made me too warm, what if it annoyed the hell out of me.
So, that caused some of the jitters.
I opted not to wear it, mostly with a racer in mind. I didn’t want to lose precious seconds off my time by removing the shirt and tying it around my waist if it annoyed me. Turned out to be a super wise decision. Not even a kilometre into the run and I was no longer suffering goosebumps or chattering teeth. The rain was coming down, but not as fierce as it had been, and aside from the super strong breeze around the bay in the last quarter of the race, I didn’t feel cold at all.
I did, however, feel wet shoes becoming looser around my ankles, wet feet slopping away in wet shoes, wet socks rubbing against wet feet. There was no avoiding the puddles, I, along with several others, had mud splashes all up our calves, and surely I would not be the only one suffering blisters post race. Embrace the puddles!
Once I started the race, I put the morning jitters aside and gave myself a selection of 3 goals to work towards (thanks HUGE to my super awesome coach for giving me this strategy):
- GOAL 1: Ultimate: Finish with a 5:30 min/km average pace, resulting in a 1:56:00 finish.
- GOAL 2: PB: Finish under 2 hours.
- GOAL 3: When All Else Fails: Have fun!
To be continued…