It's race morning. I sluggisly crawl out of my bed, reluctantly put on my race gear and pack my bag of must haves. Two weeks prior to this fateful morning, I had eagerly signed up for the Newport 10K as I thought "This will be nothing." I was wrong. A day, two days, three days, a week went by and all that could speak to my training was a measely long run the Saturday prior to the race. I figured one good run before the actual race would be all I needed.
As I admired the group of runners making laps around the Starbucks, stretching, running and more stretching, my knees began to buckle. I wasn't prepared. My cousin looked at me and asked, "Should you be stretching or something?" I confidently replied, "Nah.....these guys are taking this way too seriously. It's just a 10K", but deep down I wanted to sprint to the car, go home and admit my defeat. It was too late, the crowd began to move toward the start line. This is where my nerves really kicked in. The horn sounded and we were off.
I totally wasn't prepared for the amount of adrenaline I felt once the horn sounded. My legs felt wobbly and I feverishly tried to keep up with the other runners. That's when the paranoia overshoadowed my shakey legs. All I kept hearing in my head was "I can't be last". Eventually the paranoia and adrenaline went away and I was able to focus on completing the remainder of the race. Not only was I unprepared physically, but I wasn't prepared mentally. As I quickly realized, both are equally as important.
Needless to say I finished the race in 1:11:38 (a 11:32 pace) and placed 617 out of 642. Not the greatest, but as a beginner, I can't complain. As I prepare for my next race, I'll 1.) take it seriously 2.) focus more on the mental aspects of running and 3.) train, train and train.
To get me started, I'd love to hear how you mentally prepare for races. Do you run with or without music? Repeat a mantra? Or just go for it?