I mentioned when I was training for Around the Bay back in March that I love training for races.
I also mentioned (probably more than once) that I am not a big fan of races.
I love seeing how far my mind and my body can go when they work together. I love looking at a crisp new training schedule and trying to imagine being able to do what I will have to do by the end. It always seems overwhelming and yet, somehow, I always do it.
Around the Bay - I had to take my body from 13k to 30k in 12 weeks. I had never run more than 22k before in my life. It seemed crazy to even think about running 30k. Yet every week we added 2k and, all of a sudden, I could do it.
I love that part.
I don't love race day.
Niagara Falls - I have to take my body from 16k to 42.2k in 18 weeks. Before we started I had only run 30 once and it was hard. Really hard. I have since learned that anything, when broken down into small enough steps, is manageable. I have already run 30k twice during this training and will run it twice more (and then some) before race day. I no longer need the next day off work when I run 21.1k. Now I can run 3+ hours, stretch, shower and go to the market. The next day I can go for a 35k bike ride. What an amazing machine my body is becoming.
I can honestly say that I have never in my life been as fit as I am today.
My mind has toughened up along with my body because, well, because it had to. There is no way I can run the distances I have to run without my mind and body both having the strength and stamina. It's as much a mind game as a physical one. That too I have learned this summer.
So now, as I look at the calendar and I see two more long runs before we start to taper, I'm feeling a little sad. The training is almost over. The challenge of pushing ourselves a little more every week is almost done. Soon we will taper. Soon we will 'only' have to run 25k on Saturday. Then 16k. Then 16 again.
Then we race.
I don't wanna!!
I'm not ready yet. I'm not ready for the pressure of race day. I'm not ready for 18 weeks of training to be measured in five hours of running. I'm not ready for everything I've learned and worked so hard for to have to come together into some magical combination that will (hopefully) allow me to push my body beyond the beyond and still be upright and semi-coherent at the end.
I think I have performance anxiety.
I've never been good at things I only get one shot at. Every piano exam I ever did was a disaster. Before exam day I could play everything beautifully. I had memorized every note of every song and then, on exam day, it fell apart. Every time. Being the stubborn lass that I am I continued to take exams. They forced me to practice. I always enjoyed the year spent preparing for the exam and I would hate exam day.
I continue to sign up for races because it keeps me honest. I love the training but, on the days I don't want to get up, the thought of race day drags me out of bed. Actually, it scares me out of bed. In the magically happy world inside my head here's how things should go. I wake up on October 23rd, have my breakfast, put on my running shoes, head out on the country roads before the sun even rises, run 42.2k and some lady in a volunteer jacket is standing in front of my house with a bottle of water and a finisher's medal. No fuss. No spectators. No distractions. Just me, my running shoes and the open road.
I don't like races.
Did I mention that?