Friday, November 21, 2008

Contemplations of Race Eve

Tomorrow is the Roanoke half and we are expecting a HIGH of 16 degrees overnight so I doubt it will be much warmer at 9 am. Although I ran in 24 degree windy weather earlier in the week, it was just for about 35 minutes and even so my face got pretty cold. I am wondering how the temperatures might impact me and the rate at which my muscles will warm up and get into their groove. On the other hand, I realize the temps add to the challenge and the feeling of accomplishment I hope to gain!

This is my usual night-before-contemplative-posting. Seems to be part of my race ritual.

My plan is to start at an 8:30 mile and try to cut 5 seconds off each successive mile. I'm not sure how long I can keep it up, but I think it will be a good strategy and force me to start conservatively. I will modify as necessary. This is my race to run the way I need to run it and the way I've trained to run it. I won't worry about anyone else. I will think about the current mile and not the next one to come.

I was feeling kind of negative coming into this week but I think I've turned that around. I've been reading Pam Reed's book on The Extra Mile. She's an ultramarathoner who writes honestly and with great insight about being an athlete, mom, and wife. She talks about how she could never run these long distances without thinking of them in very small increments. So, I am going to just take it one mile at a time (or even smaller increments as needed) and do what I need to do. And when fear or doubt surface, my plan is to substitute in feelings of gratefulness, joy, grace, strength, and love. When I hit a rough patch, I have to remember that it generally passes within a minute or two and I will be OK again.

I will also think of this race as simply one more part of my training. It's like tennis...the drills are great, but there is no substitute for real match play. The races are important benchmarks. Even so, I am looking forward to a mid-December long run on my own...something longer than the 15 miles max I have done to date. It helps me to look beyond the race to the "next thing".

That's all the reflection and contemplation for now. All that's left is to just DO IT!

Do the work, leave the rest to God.