Those Pre-Race Jitters

22 Feb

Tomorrow morning at 4:45am a car, driven by the awesome Leo, will come pick me up to take me to John F. Kennedy International Airport for my 6:50 flight to New Orleans.  I will arrive a few hours later in the Big Easy for my fourth time, and only the third time I’ll make the trip by plane.  At exactly this time last year I was leaving New York by car.  With me behind the wheel and two friends, a cat, a disco ball, and a life-size cardboard cutout of R2D2 taking up the backseat of a rental car with Tennessee plates (glad to avoid New York plates on a drive through the south!) we set off from New York City to New Orleans, by way of about a dozen different states, to set a friend up in her new apartment in her new city to start a new chapter of her life.  It was a fun ride followed by a fantastic few days of exploring a new town and then a great 13.1 miles through a city I knew I would be visiting yearly, if not more.  I had no expectations of that race considering I had spent the better part of the previous week either sitting in a car, sitting in a bar, or exploring every inch of New Orleans by foot.  It turned out better than I had expected.  It was my best time in a half marathon up until that point, my best time, that is, until I bettered it by almost 6 minutes about 3 months later in the Brooklyn Half on a gorgeous day in May.  2012 was my year (for running)!

As I was saying, tomorrow morning I will be en route to New Orleans, about 24 hours after I fell asleep this morning following an 8-hour shift behind the bar.  I will arrive in the city at around 9:30am to the expectant faces of two of my closest girlfriends — one of whom keeps an awesome blog and came in 4th among women in the New Orleans Marathon a few years back (and she didn’t even have a great race! Asthma attacks! Who does that?!) and the other who busies herself bartending, making jewelry, doing investigations, practicing Reiki, and trying to turn herself into a glitter unicorn, she is so close.  I’ll spend the day at the Marathon Expo and catching up with my girls before my third night of minimal sleep leads into a 13.1 mile run, once again through the streets of New Orleans.  I have to say, I am a little nervous.  As I sit here thinking about the upcoming race, I can’t help but focus on all the potential negatives. I can’t help but pressure myself a little bit to better my time from last year, to try and set another personal record.  But then there are those nagging concerns.  So now I am thinking if I mention them here, to you, I can release them and just go into the race with a clear mind the way I have entered all my other successful running experiences.  The way I have always managed to have the most fun.  So, here goes.

1.  My training has really not been the best.  As I think I might have mentioned in this post about a run I took with Ira Glass (sorta), I originally planned on running the full marathon.  I even got through a few 18-20 mile runs.  The thing was, none of them felt all that good.  There was always something.  Three colds; hands that wouldn’t warm up even when I stopped on the side of the road, crouched down on the floor and stuck them in my armpits (I did this, don’t mock me); hips that ached with every step.  All this happened, I know, because I was lazy about doing speed work and strength training.  Did I do something about it?  No, obviously not.  My last super long run was meant to be 20 miles long.  About 12 miles in, my body and my brain had had it.  I called it quits.  It was then that I decided to drop down to the half.  It was, overall, a bad training cycle.  Never the best thing to ease a mind.

2.  I bought new shoes and they hurt.  They are the same models as my old ones and, added bonus, they look really cool!  Bright blue and green!  You can see me from miles away!  My first few runs they felt good, albeit a little stiff, but that’s normal for Mizunos in my experience.  But then after an 8 mile run last week, when I was running the downhill stretch to my house, I felt this super uncomfortable feeling on my right ankle bump (learned that term in anatomy class).  It hurt!  And now it hurts every time I run in them.  It’s too late to buy new shoes so what do I do?  Risk injury by wearing a pair of shoes that already have about 300 miles too many on them or risk bruising the shit out of my ankle bump and having an uncomfortable race?  You’ll be able to find me stuck over there, right between a rock and a hard place.

3.  I think my period is about to start and I am pretty sure the heaviest day is going to be the day of the race.  I won’t go into that.  Just read about it here.

But then there are some really good things!

1.  My running friend, C, is probably going to run with me and we will talk through the whole thing, leading to a slower time but a higher quotient of fun!

2.  Music!  Brass bands!  Other kinds of bands!  All along the route!

3. Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan are running it.  C. and I plan on stalking them down and making them be friends with us.  And then we will all be buddies and we will run together, only Kara and Shalane will be fastest, C. will be almost keeping up with them, and I will be bringing up the rear with my hands in my armpits like an asshole but then we’ll all make jokes about it and it will be great.

4. After the race, regardless of my time, I will take a shower, wash my hair and then drink the biggest bloody mary that New Orleans has to offer.  I have very high expectations for this.

5.  For the glorious week following the race, I will not set foot behind a bar.  In a bar?  Yes.  At a bar?  Yes.  Behind a bar?  Oh, hell no.

6.  When I get back to New York on Saturday, March 2nd it is only 24 hours until the AT&T American Cup, the first big elite gymnastics meet of the 2013 season.  Don’t get me wrong, I could do without Tim Daggett, Elfi Schlegel,  Andrea Joyce, and Al Trautwig’s overuse of the words “catastrophic” and “phenomenal” and I will be writing a letter to NBC telling them to get rid of one of those clowns and hire Alicia Sacramone because she rocks.  Those things aside, I will watch that meet and I will love every second of it.

Oh, hey, look at that. Three bad things, six good things. And those were just the good things that went directly from brain to fingers to keyboard.  I bet I could even think of more if I didn’t have to start packing. (Fingers crossed I don’t forget something important like a sports bra.  That would go into the list of bad things.)  So, okay, my training didn’t go great, I’ll probably be bleeding and I have uncomfortable shoes.  People have run through worse.  I think it will be fine.  And if it isn’t?  I’ll just have to have TWO ginormous* bloody marys.

*Totally didn’t know that was actually a word.  Another wonderful addition by us Americans, no doubt

One Response to “Those Pre-Race Jitters”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Post-Race Recap | franklyrebekah - February 25, 2013

    […] I figured that since I wrote a blog about my Pre-Race Jitters, I might as well recap the run (I will spare you the boring details), following a similar format to […]

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