half marathon: mental preparations

I have this thing about wanting to check out the race locations before I actually step foot at the starting line.

I realize that this won’t always be realistically possible.  Say, for example, if I ever do the Disney Half Marathon.  Or if I run out of country (wouldn’t that be a amazing?)

But.  For now.  It works.

My mom and Pepere came along with me to check out the route, and we made a whole day out of it.

(Thank you, Pepere, for coming and for treating us to lunch!! 😀 )

Field Green Salad with Pecans and Feta Cheese

The reason I do these sorts of mental pre-race trial runs is that I want to feel calm, collected and completely prepared at the start of the race.

I like to feel ready for whatever comes my way: hills, rocky terrain, and any stand-out mile markers.  I like to feel ready for whatever might potentially be thrown at me.

Just.  You know.  Ready.

As I drove through the route, I mentally pictured myself running over the rolling hills.  And then we reached the second mile marker and I realized that the rolling hills kept rolling up, up and up.  Every time we reached the top of a hill, I thought for sure the terrain would level off.  But it didn’t.  It didn’t.  The hills kept climbing.

And then, slowly—over time—that crisp mental image that I had of myself (you knowI strangely looked like Kara Goucher in my imagination…weird) became a fuzzy blur.

And then, before I knew it, we were all laughing and cracking jokes about the entire route, in a good natured, completely necessary kind of way.

Pepere declared that he would bring the stretcher.

Mom said we didn’t need to check out the rest of the race because we already knew it was all uphill.

And I stated that at least there were plenty of benches along the route in case of an emergency.

So, I didn’t quite look like Kara Goucher in my dreams anymore.  But I did look like me.  And that’s more than okay.  Because on Sunday, I’ll be laying everything that I have on the line.

The injury that held me back from my half marathon goals last year.  The first run that I ran after being injured (more on that later!)  All those late night runs—and those weekend long runs!—with dad, as we trained our way from running 3 miles to 12.3.  Those moments when I didn’t feel like running.  And those moments when I didn’t want to stop.

All of it.  It’s all going to be right there with me at the starting line, urging me on.

I will put my heart and soul into this race, just as I put my heart and soul into my training.  I’m not looking for the perfect results.  Or that perfect time.  

I’m looking for the opportunity to prove to myself that I can.  I will.

I find this incredibly hard to believe, but…

…six more days and counting!

QUESTION: Have you ever trained or prepared for something really big?  Did you feel ready when the time came to lay it on the line?  I prepare a lot for formal presentations and things like that, but I never feel as prepared as I would like!!  However, with running, I have always felt pretty good.  That doesn’t mean I don’t feel ridiculously nervous and anxious.  But as long as I put in the time and the effort, I like to view the race as the final step and opportunity to enjoy all of my hard work! 😀


16 comments on “half marathon: mental preparations

  1. Sara says:

    I always felt that way about state swim meets in high school – it was a good, adrenaline kind of nervous…completely opposite from the gut-wrenching anxiety I felt before chemistry tests this past semester (eek!). Also, I would loooove to do the Disney Half! Anyways, you’ll do great this weekend!! 😀 Have fun!!

  2. Sheila says:

    Good luck this weekend!!

  3. Great post. Amazing photos. You will reach your goals…you have done the preparing and training.

  4. Becky Sue says:

    I never feel like I’ve done enough. Even when I’ve done 13.1 a couple times beforehand I still feel like I won’t make it. Good for you for being mentally prepared. Best of luck to you this weekend!

  5. jamiddix says:

    I just finished my first half and for the first time in a long time could say how proud I was of myself. I think its so smart to drive the route, be familiar and in my next one I will totally do that. Best of luck to you – you’ll be great!

  6. Sarah, you are going to do wonderful! For every hill you approach, just think of every mile that you’ve trained and the injury you’ve overcome. Just keep pushing! Like I told my other friend, imagine me jumping and screaming on the sidelines yelling “Goooooo Sarahhhhhh!” If anything, you’ll want to run faster to get away from my incessant cheering 🙂

    I’m excited for you! And the Disney Half Marathon is on my list, too!

  7. Best of luck with the race. I would probably vomit at the thought of having to run almost entirely uphill. Where I live the land is so flat that I have pretty much no hill experience.

    You should think about doing Disney next January. I want to do the full Disney marathon but I’m starting to have doubts. After Sunday’s 16 miler I don’t know if I can do 10 more!

    • Sarah says:

      Do you know if the Disney in January is a full or a half? Or do they have both at the same time?

      You can so do the full marathon! If you can do 16, I’m a firm believer that your adrenaline and strength will carry you on for the rest of the way. And great job on running the 16!! That’s incredible. 😀

  8. Leigh Pumiia says:

    I just want to know the name of the town in the photos. It looks familiar. Good luck.

  9. Nicole says:

    First of all, I’m in love with that pic of Mom and Pepere. 🙂 And second of all, you need to bring me to that adorable, seaside town… because I’ve never been but I want to go so badly!!

  10. Good luck! What town is that!? It’s gorgeous.

  11. BrittFit says:

    LOVE YOUR BLOG.. so glad I found you! and good luck with the run!

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