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! 😀