Well, I did it! I finished the race, and the race finished me.
After last weekend’s 17+ mile run, I felt confident enough that I could at least cover the distance. I knew that the steep up and downhill segments of the Quicksilver course would kick my butt, but I was expecting that all along. Having run the race three other times, I toed the line knowing that the technical aspects of the course might also be an issue given that I am only running in Vibram fivefingers. I was nervous.
All along, I’d referred to the race as a “run” rather than a “race.” I guess I felt that somehow this would lessen the pressure of toeing the line. The sleepless hours of my early morning confirmed that my approach had not worked. I got up in an aura of dread. Not exactly how you want to approach your big event.
As I drove to the start, I tried lightening up a bit. I thought about what I would tell my running friends if they had shared feeling this way. Most certainly, I’d tell them that this feeling is somewhat normal. I’d tell them that it’s there for a reason, to make sure that they approached the race with an appropriate amount of respect for all of the time and effort they had put into training for it. Very likely, I’d laugh at them and try to get them to laugh at themselves in turn.
But I was not feeling at all amused. Instead, I was remembering the value of practice racing. Having only my A-race on my calendar, and nothing else, makes handling these pre-race nerves a little too challenging.