I’m nervous. Nervous like I’ve never raced before. Like I’ve never run a half. Like I’ve never raced in a new city. Like I’ve never raced without friends.
I’m always edgy and anxious before race day, especially out of town races. I’m anxious about getting there, getting there on time, packing the right gear, getting to packet pick-up, getting enough rest (never happens; I don’t sleep before a scheduled early morning run or race), waking up on time, fueling, finding the start line, using the port-a-potty, warming up, staying warm, starting on-time, finding my family after the finish line, getting cold, cooling off, stretching, getting back to the hotel, recovery. It’s a litany.
I’m particularly nervous this time. I’m doing a back-to-back 5K and Half at the Gulf Coast Marathon Weekend and I haven’t run more than 6.2 miles since breaking my foot in August. My hips and knees are achy from muscle weakness and being off-balance for 12 weeks. I did as much walking and strength training as I could and got back in the pool as soon as I was cleared, but there’s no substitute for actual time on your feet. What I could do just wasn’t enough.
My pace is a full 2 minutes slower than my PR back in the spring. I know this because I have raced three 5Ks and one 8K since August. I walked two of them, the Rise Up & Run/Walk like MADD 5K in September and the Atlanta 5K in October. I ran the Esprit de She 5K early in November; the very evening after getting the all-clear to run. I was so amped to be cleared to run that I may have over-done it a bit. Hello achy knees. Last week, I ran the Turkey Day 8K in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I am so glad they reversed the course this year so the hills weren’t as punishing. I did better than I expected because of that course change. I even found a little oomph to get across the uphill finish before the clock ticked over another minute.
I should be feeling more confident.
I’m not. I’m a anxious mess. I just don’t have the running fitness at the moment. So, new strategy and new goal: timed intervals and finish without being swept.