Friday, May 4, 2012

Race Day Jitters

I will be the first to admit I can get a little anxious sometimes (for those of you who know me well, feel free to laugh at this understatement). For example, I almost threw up on my drive to take my GRE’s when I was in undergrad. After graduating from grad school and studying practically all summer before taking my boards, I am pretty sure I sobbed all the way home thinking I had failed (good thing I passed!).

When I started running marathons, I would get super anxious beforehand and could not eat certain foods in the morning, purely because I would gag from the jitters. The jitters started to decrease, but returned right before my first trail marathon.
As I have raced more, I have learned that during racing, as with any run, the unexpected can always happen. With the right prep, you can be ready to tackle a race, even if the outcomes are not what you hope for. It has been several races since I have actually experienced these jitters (Gore-Tex Transrockies was the last time, but let’s face it, 6 days, 120 miles, 20,000 + elevation gain and the general unknown, who wouldn’t be somewhat nervous?).

That brings me to this week. Ben and I signed up to do the Colorado Marathon several months ago as a redo for me, since I was returning from an injury last year when we ran. This week, Ben decided he will not be doing the full and will be transferring his entry to a shorter race (still working out this nasty injury!). I am extremely saddened that he is still not 100 % and that we will not be completing this race together! We are running partners. Recently, while running in the evening together, we realized how well we run together. It has become easy to sense what the other person is about to do or how they are feeling without the use of words!
Even though I have done the bulk of my training alone, I was optimistically hopeful that Ben would run. Without him running, I will be racing alone. We have started all of our marathons together and have finished all but two together. This time, I will start, and finish alone. This time, I have the jitters! This time, I feel like there is even more unknown. No one will be by my side to push me when I struggle and vice versa. I won’t be able to share observations about the gorgeous scenery (we will be running in the Poudre Canyon. Sure, there will be other runners, but there will be no Ben!

While I prepare for this race with mixed emotions and am in fact, nervous, I am reminded that the “jitters” we experience are probably a good thing. If I don’t ever get nervous before racing, I am probably overly confident in my abilities or I am probably not prepared to push myself. The jitters might be present in full force but I hope to be at the start line on Sunday morning with peace and a smile on my face, excited to see what new heights can be reached!

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