Pre-Race Jitters & My First Half Marathon

Back in August, (maybe it was September?) we started this blog as a way to document our journey to our first half marathon.
I’m not sure when it all started, our new-found love for running, but we were hooked when we completed the Illinois Marathon Relay last year.

I’ve pretty much taken over the blog as far as writing goes, Mayra disappeared off the planet, and Yessenia handles all of the tech-y stuff because anytime I try to make something look cool or change anything, something goes missing. And although the intentions of this blog was to document our journey to 13.1- that focus sort of fell to the way-side and I can’t believe that it is actually here. My alarm is set for 4:30am tomorrow, Stephen is on his way to Champaign right now, and all of my clothes are laid out. It’s here. In less than 24 hours, I will be toeing the starting line with 13.1 miles left to cover ahead of me.

We had such a good time last year at the relay- but 13.1 is going to be so very different. I started first last year. My leg was about a 10K, I think a little more. I handed off to Mayra, and Mayra handed off to Yessenia. They both had the longest legs, around 7 miles if I can remember correctly. While we waited for our final runner to finish, we were on cloud 9 celebrating and taking random pictures in a field.

Tomorrow? We’ll all be at the start line together, probably starting at different times according to our corral letters. There will be no playing and taking pictures in a field. I’m making it sound so somber and serious but for me, it is. This is the culmination of all of my training over the past few months. It’s my first BIG race. Sure, I was nervous for my first 5K but the end is LITERALLY IN SIGHT, but this is so much more.

I’m nervous because I’m doubting my training, which I’m sure is normal.
Did I train enough? Should I have skipped all of those recovery runs? How did my last long run go? How am I going to feel tomorrow morning? What should I eat for breakfast? What should I wear? WHAT IF MY LEGS DON’T REMEMBER HOW TO RUN? Insert all other irrational thoughts here.

Pre-race jitters are normal and I’m naturally a nervous person to begin with. I’m actually glad that I have nerves right now because I know that those will help fuel me through at least the first half of the race. If I was calm, I don’t think my adrenaline would take over like I’m going to need it to. For the record, I’m sick of people telling me to calm down. LET ME BE NERVOUS. I feel like the more heart and soul you put into something, the more nervous you will be at the culminating event. At least that’s how I am. I have something to lose here, ya know? Not actually, but metaphorically, I feel as if I have a lot to lose.

I keep envisioning myself and how I’ll feel at the finish line & I cannot wait for that feeling. As nervous as I am, I am just as excited.

My 13.1 Goals (in order of importance)

  • Finish the race
  • Don’t stop moving
  • Don’t stop running, even if I have to slow down to one of those weird bouncing walks, just keep running
  • Finish in under 3 hours
  • Finish in under 2:30 hours

If I finish in under 3 hours, I will be happy but mostly just because I just finished. Assuming I’m feeling OK tomorrow and nothing ridiculous happens to my body while I’m running (read: shin splints, asthma, my foot starts to hurt, knee pain, my IT band seizes up, or any other physical ailment that has happened to me during a long run).Since “finish the race” is the first and foremost important thing tomorrow, I’ll be happy with 3 hours, even though 3 hours will insult my training- literally 3 hours will just shit and piss all over my efforts these past months- I’ll take it. If I get under 2:30, I will be ecstatic. It’s not the most important goal, by any means, which is why it’s at the bottom of the list- but it would definitely be the icing on the cake for tomorrow.
(I’m not saying that 3 hours is not a respectable time, what I’m saying is that for what I’ve been training for and how my long runs have been going, 3 hours will mean for me that I did not bring my A-game to the race and that for my next 13.1 (we all know I’ll do another one) I have to train smarter.) 

13.1 miles is 13.1 miles no matter how you slice it, so if I finish tomorrow I’ll be happy.

—————

After we left the Expo yesterday, I stayed to workout. As I was leaving the locker room to get the weights over with, I saw a girl walking into the Expo. Her brightly colored gym shoes caught my eye (I’m a sucker for gym shoes- it’s a problem, really). And as I watched her walk passed, I noticed she had an artificial leg (she had shorts on). I was filled with joy and courage and overwhelmed (in a good way) after seeing her, for so many reasons that I won’t even get into. But she’s running as part of the Illinois Marathon race weekend, whether it’s the 5K, 10K, Relay, Half, or Full, who cares. I was so inspired after seeing her and it put all of my worries into perspective. And, inevitably, I thought of this:

So I’m sitting with my foot in a pot of ice in hopes that the base of my 5th metatarsal doesn’t hurt tomorrow. If  I have a Jone’s Fracture, I WILL NOT BE HAPPY.

One more load of laundry to do. A few more online assignments to get done. And one three-hour long playlist to make. Let’s do this.

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