Assuming all goes well, three days from now I'll be finishing my first Around the Bay 30km Road Race in Hamilton. The forecast looks good and I've done the training so there's no reason to think I won't finish "upright and smiling" - maybe even in a fairly decent time (for a woman of my age and occupation).
Nevertheless, I'm beginning to get nervous. I always do before a big race, but I feel more nervous this time because I seem to be fighting a cold or flu - which is hardly surprising given that everyone around me is sick at the moment. (And just why is it that people insist on bringing their cold and flus to work with them anyway?! Harumph!) At any rate, if vitamin C, Cold F/X and sheer determination are effective against viruses, I'm sure I'll stay well until after the race.
My run last evening was a relaxed 5km around the lake. It should have been enjoyable but, as any marathoner will tell you, the last easy run before race day can be excruciating. To begin with, you're tapering - that is, reducing your training to give your body a chance to heal before race day - so you feel like you want to run hard and it's frustrating when you can't. Added to which, every step is accompanied by some new twinge you don't recognize so you spend most of the run worried that you've injured yourself and just haven't noticed until that moment. It sounds silly but it can be a little crazy-making if you're not prepared for it.
Fortunately, my last run wasn't too awful. It was a great evening - cool and clear with a light wind - and the lake was a shimmery turquoise as sunset approached. I did feel an odd something in my right foot and another in my lower back at different points but they went away quickly once I reminded myself they were all in my head. And I wasn't tempted to run too far or too quickly because I'd been feeling a little under the weather all day.
Of course, that raised another whole set of issues - but I know for a fact that it's possible to run well even when you're not feeling your best. I have a friend who recently PBed (achieved a personal best time) in a half marathon despite suffering from a nasty flu. Who knows? Maybe it helps to be fevered to the point of delirium when you're running 21 or 30 km. (I'm kidding!)
What am I most looking forward to? The celebration after the race, of course. But also the camaraderie of running with my Team in Training (TNT) friends, and (I hope!) proving to myself that I can run 30 km with relative ease. The last point is important because (Ta-Dah!) I'm seriously thinking about signing up to run another marathon to raise money for TNT this fall. It would be nice to have a strong run in Hamilton under my belt before I make that commitment.
Wish me luck!