To ease stress, Mexican children often employ Worry Dolls, putting them under their pillow at night and waking up to see the dolls have gone, carrying the worries with them. Well I don't have dolls but I do have a blog so I will lay out my fears about my upcoming half marathon here and maybe that will be enough to get them off my mind, at least for a little while.
I have heard it said that training is 90% physical and 10% mental, but that race day is the exact opposite. My legs, heart and lungs have proven that they can withstand 12 miles of pavement, so I am not too concerned about adding 1.1 miles more. My left brain, however, is waging war, and my pre-race jitters have begun. Here they are, in no particular order:
1) I DON'T KNOW THE COURSE - Knowing the route is like, number one in race preparation. What can I do? Not much. Go with the flow, literally. Follow the pack and hope it's well marked in case I end up alone. I believe it will be. I can study the elevation map to know when to expect hills, and I can carry street directions in my fuel belt. It is what it is.
2) WAS IT 11 MILES OR 12?? - My Nike+ iPod may or may not have dropped up to a mile during my training, something I didn't find out until I had completed my 11 mile run. So when I did the 12 mile, was it accurate? Am I really adding only 1.1 miles or is there a chance it will be 2.1? Not much I can do about this one either. And it doesn't really matter, because the course I am running WILL BE 13.1, whether my software says so or not.
3) TROT TROT TO BOSTON - or Worcester, close enough... What can I say about my fear of runners trots? I am so seriously freaked out about this that I have actually taken Immodium before a 5k, and I carry wet-wipes in my fuel belt because I read they are good to have "just in case". This is another time when knowing the route would be really helpful, as I would know where port-o-pottys would be. Meh.
4) HILLS - According to the elevation charts there are 3 good size hills. Why oh why didn't I train for hills?
5) TIME - My pace is so consistent that my Nike charts read like a flat line. I could literally say to Vida, " I'm running 7 miles, be back in 77 minutes" and I would be. Exactly. I felt confident that during the race I could give my family a time frame within 15 minutes to look for me at the finish. But if my mileage isn't right (see #2 above) then my time is wrong also. I am worried that my family will be bored, impatient, etc. if they have to wait longer than I tell them. Here's another one I have to kiss up to heaven because I can't run any faster than I do without jeopardizing my chances of finishing. I think I will give them a wide time estimate and make sure Luke's DS has a full charge. What more can I do?
My first half-marathon is 5 days away. I am scared and excited and exhilirated and doubtful and hopeful. The leg fracture, physical therapy, 200 training miles! The days it was so cold my fingers froze, running in the heat, running in the rain, leg cramps, side cramps, all the pride, all the pain - everything has been leading up to this moment and I want to savor it for a long time. So there you go Worry Dolls, when I lay me down to sleep tonight you can lace up your little running shoes and run your asses back to Mexico and take my worries with you!